PAPERS Resources

AAR Annual Meeting
San Diego, CA
November 23-26, 2019

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Preliminary Program Book (PDF)

Preliminary Program Book (MS Word)

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Political Theology Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

The Political Theology Unit 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. This program unit draws upon these diverse approaches in order to explore the contribution of political theology to the study of religion.

The Unit aims to expand the conversation about political theology to highlight minority, feminist, and queer voices and to foreground scholars from Jewish, Muslim, and other religious traditions. The goal of the unit 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.

Call for Papers: 

For 2019, the Political Theology Unit invites submissions that consider two areas of inquiry that have been underrepresented in the area.

● Political Theology and Patriarchy -
Historically, the discourses of political theology have been dominated by men. The most influential works on political theology have generally failed to address the problem of misogyny, and in some cases they actively resist addressing questions of gender and sexuality. In response, we are seeking submissions that stage an encounter between political theology and queer, feminist, and womanist theory.

● Political Theology and Decolonialism -
Decolonial theory considers the ways in which the modern political imaginary emerged through encounter with its colonial and racial other. We are looking for submissions that reflect upon the relation between political theology and decolonial thought in order to explore how the questions posed in each conversation might challenge and transform the other.

We welcome a wide range of methodologies - including philosophy, politics, theology, history, anthropology, etc. - and are particularly interested in submissions that move beyond Christian formulations of political theology.

Method: 
PAPERS
Process: 
Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members
Comments: 
Steering committee members read proposals and rated them without knowledge of the authors’ identities. The co-chairs then selected from the highest-rated submissions in order to create panels that were thematically coherent while representing diversity among the panelists.
Leadership: 
ChairSteering Committee