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Cyborg Memories: An Impure History of Jesus

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What can happen when memory and intersectionality are brought together to bear on historical Jesus studies? Pondering this question in light of a recently launched multiyear project, Jesus in Cultural Complexity, I propose that the intersectional figure of the cyborg and haunting as a form of memory offer resources for practicing this conjunction. The cyborg as an intersectional figure productively expands our field of salient intersections beyond the usual anthropocentric range; haunting, when considered as a form of memory transmission that requires ethical response by the living but demands we grant agency to the non-living or non-human, helps to clarify how we might speak about temporal intersectionalities. The first section of the article sketches my understanding of the key insights of intersectionality, in light of examples of its current deployments in analysing the figure of Jesus and the enterprise of historical Jesus studies. The second section articulates what the cyborg as an intersectional figure can add to this work, drawing especially on the work of Donna Haraway. The last section of the paper argues that the figure of the cyborg is one well-suited to cultivating an approach to forms of memory we might describe as hauntings, drawing especially on the work of Avery Gordon and Jacques Derrida.

Affiliations: 1: Williams College, Williamstown, MA


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