Theory and Event 22 (2):243-266 (2019)

Authors
Kirill Chepurin
National Research University Higher School of Economics
Alex Dubilet
Vanderbilt University
Abstract
This paper speculatively reconstructs the unique intervention that Pyotr Chaadaev, the early nineteenth-century Russian thinker, made into the political-theological debate. Instead of positioning sovereignty and exception against each other, Chaadaev seeks to think the (Russian) exception immanently, affirming its nonrelation to, and even nullity or nothingness vis-à-vis, the (European, Christian-modern) world-historical regime—and to theorize the logic of sovereignty that could arise from within this nullity. As a result, we argue, nothingness itself becomes, in Chaadaev, operative through and as the sovereign act and the figure of the sovereign, exemplified for him by the Russian emperor Peter the Great (1672–1725).
Keywords nothingness  immanence  Pyotr Chaadaev  sovereignty  modernity  Russian philosophy  political theology
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