Investing in a Third: Colonization, Religious Fundamentalism, and Adolescence


  • Elaine P. Miller Miami University



Julia Kristeva, Adolescence, Revolt, Religious fundamentalism, Colonialism


In her keynote address to the Kristeva Circle 2014, Julia Kristeva argued that European Humanism dating from the French Revolution paradoxically paved the way for “those who use God for political ends” by promoting a completely and solely secular path to the political. As an unintended result of this movement this path has led, in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, to the development of a new form of nihilism that masks itself as revolutionary but in fact is the opposite, in Kristeva’s view.  Kristeva analyzed the culture of religious fundamentalism as “adolescent” in the sense that the adolescent, in contrast to the child, is a believer rather than a questioner.  Although the psychoanalytic consideration of religious fundamentalism added a new dimension to attempts to explain the increase of this phenomenon in the late 20th and 21st centuries, Kristeva’s subsequent linkage of fundamentalism to the revolts in French suburbs in 2005 and beyond fell short of an insightful critique by neglecting the historical context of France’s colonial history.

Author Biography

Elaine P. Miller, Miami University

Elaine P. Miller is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.