This Unit asks “What does liberation theology mean in and for the twenty-first century?” We encourage crossover dialogue — between contexts and between disciplines — and reflection on the implications of liberationist discourse for the transformation of theology as a whole, both methodologically and theologically.
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Liberation Theologies Unit
Call for Proposals
The Canon of Liberation and Theology? Boundaries, Tensions, and Ties
In the theological academy, certain areas of study, including liberation theology, have constructed a canon that establishes a tradition of reflection, praxis, and innovation. This canon grounds and orients the guild’s work, often gathering the seminal works in a particular area of study, as well as the methodologies of original thinkers and practitioners. Innovation through the years is carefully curated by these original thinkers, understood to be guardians of the tradition. These canons and the processes by which they come about represent hard boundaries from which scholars and practitioners interact with the academy and the larger world.
What constitutes the canon of liberation theology(ies)? This year the Liberation Theologies Unit invites proposals that examine this question and the complexities embedded within. Which processes form canons? Who has shaped these canons? How do we construct our syllabi for courses related to liberation and theology?
Proposals for two sessions are encouraged that examine the ways the theological academy -
1) privileges the written word over other forms of knowledge;
2) privileges Judeo-Christianity as systematized traditions; and
3) privileges those educated in particular traditions of learning, such as academia.
What tensions and challenges do Indigenous, Native, Islamic, Afro-Caribbean, African and other religious practices and alternative canons of knowledge bring to the Western theological academy on the topic of liberation? How do these challenges impact methods, epistemologies, and frameworks for the work and praxis of liberation? In what ways does solidarity at the margins in post-secular and post-religious contexts invite the revision and even deconstruction of certain canons? In what ways do these offer new ties to seminal works in the liberationist tradition?
Topics may include:
Fetishism of the written word, revolutions, and discomfort
Activism as the real work of the guild
Indigenous storytelling, alternative concepts of time, and kairos
Tensions generated by colonized theologies and the guild
The use of literature and art for the study of liberation theologies
Ethnonationalism and the texts of national canons of revolution
Interreligious and grass roots forms of doing liberation theologies
Tension and role of gender in theological constructions of a canon for liberation
How do we engage the canon of the poor?
Archives that include the non-written word
Transgressions of the boundaries
Role of the subjective, objective and inter-subjective in forming theologies of liberation
Role of identities (or not) in forming liberation theologies
Co-sponsored session (Liberation Theologies Unit and Religions in the Latina/o Americas Unit and Religions, Social Conflict, and Peace Unit, Comparative Theologies Unit)
Land, Revolutions, and the Religious Being: in Search of Political Theologies of Liberation
We invite proposals for a co-sponsored session that consider the setting of the 2020 meeting in Boston by examining the relationship between revolutions and land (i.e., Hong Kong, Chile, Paris, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Lebanon, Iraq, Sudan, etc.) in different ways. Possible areas include post-colonial and decolonial critiques of comparative theology and theologies of peace and conflict resolution; theology intersecting at the borders of geography and confessionalism; learning and activism across those same borders; comparative theologies as praxis/therapy for overcoming the impact of tolerance, hate, and conflict; political theologies of liberation in relation to conflict, land and various industrial-complexes (prison, ecological, technological, military, etc.).
The Liberation Theologies unit is also exploring the possibility of a roundtable discussion among panelists invited by a diverse group of units to respond to the 2020 US election. Persons interested in being considered for this panel should contact the unit's co-chairs.
Statement of Purpose
Steering Committee Members
Alexander Abbasi, University of JohannesburgMember Since: 2015
Filipe Maia, Boston UniversityMember Since: 2019
Robert Jay Rivera, St. John's UniversityMember Since: 2017
Nikia Robert, Claremont School of TheologyMember Since: 2016
Santiago H. Slabodsky, Hofstra UniversityMember Since: 2020
An Yountae, California State University, NorthridgeMember Since: 2015