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For 2021, the Political Theology Unit invites proposals on the theme "Mourning Political Theology."

In response to crises such as the covid-19 pandemic, one common response is therapeutic - an attempt at healing that leaves the trauma behind. However, covid makes clear that some losses are indelible, and others require sustained attention if they are truly to heal. Against this background, we invite papers that explore the range of responses required by a crisis like covid, from therapy to mourning (and everything in between). How is mourning mobilized for political-theological purposes? And how might this help us respond to the moment we are living in?

In addition to proposals on this theme, we welcome paper and panel proposals on any topic relating to political theology. Our unit encompasses a wide range of methodologies - including philosophy, politics, theology, history, anthropology, etc. We are particularly interested in submissions that move beyond Christian formulations of political theology.

Mission Statement:

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.

Method of Submission:




David Newheiser, dnewheiser@gmail.com

Michelle Sanchez, msanchez@hds.harvard.edu


Steering Committee:

Brandy Daniels, brandydaniels@gmail.com

Elizabeth Phillips, erp31@cam.ac.uk

Inese Radzins, iradzins@csustan.edu

An Yountae, anyount@gmail.com

David True, david.true@wilson.edu


Session Allotment: Tier 1 – Two 90-minute sessions

Next Review: 2024