Arthur Bradley

Lancaster University

Arthur Bradley is Professor of Comparative Literature at Lancaster University. He works at the intersection of literature, religious studies, and political theory. His most recent book is Unbearable Life: A Genealogy of Political Erasure (Columbia University Press, 2019) and he has also recently published essays in Telos, Review of Politics and Political Theology. He co-edits the book series Political Theologies with Bloomsbury Press. In 2022, he is working on a new book provisionally entitled “In the Theatre of Sovereignty: Theory, Theatre, Thaumaturgy”.

Speaking at the conference

Saturday, 24 September, 4pm, Kosovel Hall

In the Antechamber of Power: Sovereign Divisibility in Schiller, Schmitt, and Benjamin

In a 1954 article in Die Zeit entitled “Im Vorraum der Macht [In the Antechamber of Power],” Carl Schmitt offers what is (to my knowledge) the only study of the antechamber in the history of political theory. To summarize my argument in this paper, I seek to contend that Schmitt’s theory of the antechamber sheds new light upon the Machtarchitektur of his political theory more widely: sovereign decisionism, the distinction between the exception and the rule and so on. In a reading of “Im Vorraum der Macht” – together with related representations of the antechamber by Schiller and Benjamin – I seek to describe how the later Schmitt re-imagines the sovereign chamber of power as the space of a paradoxical impotence, weakness, or division at the heart of sovereignty itself.

More about Arthur Bradley