The CLR James Journal

Volume 27, Issue 1/2, Fall 2021

Decolonizing Spiritualities

Drucilla Cornell, Stephen D. Seely
Pages 25-38

Why Political? Why Spirituality? Why Now?

In this essay, we revisit the concept of “political spirituality” that we developed in our book The Spirit of Revolution: Beyond the Dead Ends of Man (2016) in light of the profound political upheavals that have happened since its publication. We begin with theories about the breakdown of neoliberalism and the “return of politics” with the rise of so-called populist movements. We argue that notions of the “demos” and the “people” miss the dimension of transindividuality central to our thinking of political spirituality. The second aspect of political spirituality missing from current critical theory is transcendence, or the desire to go beyond the limits of who and what we are. We capture both these dimensions through a notion of “relational finitude,” demonstrating both the poverty of European philosophy in this respect, and celebrating the contribution of feminism, decolonial theory, and African philosophy toward a new praxis of being human.