AAR Annual Meeting
November 18-21, 2017
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The Political Theology Seminar examines the interaction between religious and political thought: how do they influence one another, and how should we respond? Political theology emerged as an area of study through the work of scholars such as Carl Schmitt, who examined the origin of political concepts in Christian theology. The area has also drawn upon theological traditions (Christian, Jewish, and otherwise) in order to reflect constructively upon the way in which politics ought to operate. In recent years, political theology has been taken up by scholars in various disciplines, including philosophy of religion, Biblical studies, Islamic studies, African American religion, sexuality and religion, and elsewhere. The seminar will draw upon these diverse approaches in order to explore the contribution of political theology to the study of religion.
Over the course of five sessions (2017-2021), the seminar will expand the conversation about political theology to highlight minority, feminist, and queer voices and foreground scholars from Jewish, Muslim, and other religious traditions. The goal of the seminar is to provide a forum for a diverse group of scholars to explore what political theology means in their own work, how they see the conversation about political theology developing, and how political theology can enrich the study of religion.
For the first year of the Seminar we are planning a pre-arranged roundtable discussing the way in which the theoretical resources of political theology can be applied in concrete contexts, with particular attention to their relevance for the rise of authoritarian ideologies in the US and elsewhere