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AAR/SBL 2021 for PTN

We present some AAR/SBL Annual Meeting 2021 sessions that might be of interest to members of the Political Theology Network.

With a hybrid, in-person and virtual, SBL and AAR Annual Meeting this year, there are many promising and exciting sessions that engage with political theology. We note these sessions that might be of interest to the Political Theology Network community. This is not an exhaustive list, and we welcome any additions by commenting on this post.

**denotes virtual session as listed in the PDF booklet. Please consult the online planner for the most up to date modality.

Political Theology Unit Sessions


Political Theology Unit and Sacred Texts and Ethics Unit

Friday, November 19, 5:00pm -6:30pm

Theme: Environmental Justice and Political Asceticism: A Panel on Thoreau’s Religion by Alda Balthrop-Lewis (Cambridge University Press, 2021)

5:00 PM–6:30 PM

Fannie Bialek, Washington University, St. Louis, Presiding


Bonnie Honig, Brown University

Martin Kavka, Florida State University

Willis Jenkins, University of Virginia

Danube Johnson, Harvard University


Alda Balthrop-Lewis, Australian Catholic University


Theme: Mourning Political Theology

Saturday, November 20, 3:00pm-4:30pm

Convention Center–208

Elizabeth Phillips, Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology, Presiding

Michael Mango, Harvard University, “Life Philosophy as ‘Prefascist Aestheticism’: Walter Benjamin and Georges Bataille on the Body, Politics, and Religion”

B. Yuki Schwartz, Claremont School of Theology, “Melancholic Sovereignty: Mourning and Resisting Pandemic-Fueled Anti-Asian Violence”

Panashe Chigumadzi, Harvard University, “The Exodus of the Israelites: Dylann Roof, the Transatlantic Apartheid and a White Theology of Domination”

Bryan Ellrod, Emory University, “The Remembrance of Dismembered Bodies: The Promise and Challenge of Mourning in the United States’ Southwestern Borderlands”


Theme: Religion and Secularism: Decolonizing Theories, Methods, and Sources

Sunday, November 21, 3:00 PM–4:30 PM

Grand Hyatt–Bowie B

Rafael Vizcaíno, DePaul University, Presiding

Delores Mondragon, University of California, Santa Barbara, “A Story of How Indigenous Ways of Knowing Through Rematriation Is Possible and Necessary”

Shamara Alhassan, Arizona State University, “Moving to a Realm Beyond Reason: Rastafari Woman’s Livity as Code for Cognitive Justice”

Rafael Vizcaino, Rutgers University, “Sylvia Wynter’s Un/Writing of Secularity”

An Yountae, California State University, Northridge, “The Anti-sacred: A Neocolonial Regulation of Theory”

Shatha Almutawa, Willamette University, “The Study of Religion Before Colonialism”


Theme: Pluralizing Political Theology

Monday, November 12, 3:00 PM–4:30 PM

Convention Center–208

Inese Radzins, California State University, Stanislaus, Presiding


Kathy Chow, Yale University

Mac Loftin, Harvard University

Joseph Drexler-Dreis, Xavier University of Louisiana

Mark Aloysius, University of Oxford

Stephanie Frank, Columbia College, Chicago

Rushain Abbasi, Harvard University


Robert A. Yelle, University of Munich

Other Sessions of Interest to the Political Theology Network

**AV20-207 Black Theology Unit

Theme: Confronting Black Death: Black Theology and the Politics of Social, Ecclesial, and Ecological Demise

Saturday, November 20, 12:30 PM–2:30 PM

Michele Watkins, University of San Diego, Presiding

Nathan D. Wood-House, Boston College, “James Cone’s Black Fire: Necropolitical Theology and Apocalyptic Blackness”

David Latimore, Princeton Theological Seminary, “Rise of the Neoliberal Black Church”

Nixon Cleophat, Bloomfield College, “Towards a Black Vodounist Eco-Theology of Liberation: The Earth, Black Bodies and Sexualities Matter”

Nikia Robert, Claremont School of Theology, “Where Do We Go from Here? The Social Gospel ’s Mandate for Abolition”


Fordham University Press

Theme: Just Universities Mean Just Economics

Saturday, November 20, 9:00 AM–11:00 AM

Michael T. McLaughlin, Old Dominion University, “Forming Humans and Supporting the Humanities at the Just University”

Ruben Rosario Rodriguez, Saint Louis University, “The Judgment of Solomon: Can the Mission Remain Divided Without Killing the University?”

Rohnn Sanderson, Brescia University, “Just Universities-Markets and Mission-An Economist’s Perspective”

Linda A. Mercadante, Methodist Theological School in Ohio, “I Wasn’t Planning on Becoming Spiritual but not Religious: The Human Cost of Forced Termination in Religiously-Affiliated Higher Education”


Gerald Beyer, Villanova University


Theology and Continental Philosophy Unit

Theme: Religion, Secularization, and Real Abstraction: Abstraction Beyond the Value-Form

Saturday, November 20, 12:30 PM–2:30 PM

Convention Center-213

Timothy Snediker, University of California, Santa Barbara, Presiding

Alex Dubilet, Vanderbilt University, “On Real Abstraction and Secular Abstraction”

Tapji Garba, University of Winnipeg, “The Abstraction of Exchange: Natural Law, the Salamanca School, and Spanish Empire”

Sara-Maria Sorentino, University of Alabama, “The Happy Slave and Happy Scripture: Christianity, Slavery, and Interpretation”

Marika Rose, University of Winchester, and Anthony Paul Smith, La Salle University, “The One Who Is Nothing: Political Theology and Real Abstraction”

Sean Capener, University of Toronto, “Time as Real Abstraction”


Lucia Hulsether, Skidmore College


Reformed Theology and History Unit

Theme: The Extra Calvinisticum

Saturday, November 20, 3:00 PM–4:30 PM

Convention Center–212

Hanna Reichel, Princeton Theological Seminary, Presiding


Ian A. McFarland, Cambridge University

Linn Tonstad, Yale University

Paul Nimmo, University of Aberdeen


Catholic Studies Unit

Theme: Law and Order Catholicism

Saturday, November 20, 5:00 PM–6:30 PM

Convention Center–221A

Vincent Lloyd, Villanova University, Presiding


Matthew Cressler, College of Charleston

Michael Graziano, University of Northern Iowa

Kathleen Holscher, University of New Mexico

Daisy Vargas, University of Arizona


Philosophy of Religion Unit

Theme: Isolation Without Solitude: Mothering as a Critical Lens for Theorizing Cohesion and Collapse in the Face of Plague

Saturday, November 20, 5:00 PM–6:30 PM

Lisa Gasson-Gardner, Drew University, Presiding


Karen Bray, Wesleyan College

Elana Jefferson-Tatum, Tufts University

Beatrice Marovich, Hanover College

Keri Day, Princeton Theological Seminary


Theological Education Committee

Theme: Theological Education Between the Times

Sunday, November 21, 9:00 AM–11:00 AM

Rachelle Green, Fordham University, Presiding


Mark Jordan, Harvard University

Willie J. Jennings, Yale University

Chloe Sun, Logos Evangelical Seminary

Keri Day, Princeton Theological Seminary

Elizabeth Conde-Frazier, Eastern University

Daniel O. Aleshire, Association of Theological Schools


Transnational Religious Expression: Between Asia and North America Seminar

Theme: Power and Politics in Transnational Religious Expressions

Sunday, November 21, 9:00 AM–11:00 AM

Justin Stein, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Presiding

Philip Deslippe, University of California, Santa Barbara, “Asian Religions in the United States and Transnational Movements for Indian Independence, Through Gadar and Gandhi”

Catherine Hardie, Hong Kong Baptist University, “Barely Beyond the Nation: Mainland Han Chinese Participation in the World of Exile-Based Tibetan Buddhism”

Younghwa Kim, Emory University, “Betwixt and Between: Expected Interaction but Unexpected Intervention in the Reconstruction of the Korean Methodist Church”

Jesse Lee, Florida State University, “Blut Und Boden, Chi to Tsuchi: On Ethnological Agriculture, the American Alien Land Laws, and Competing Manifest Destinies”

Minjung Noh, Drew University, “Transnational Politics and Korean Evangelicalism: Towards a New Language”


Thomas A. Tweed, University of Notre Dame

**AV21-225 Law, Religion, and Culture Unit

Theme: The Problem of Expert Evidence in Religion and Law

Sunday, November 21, 12:30 PM–2:30 PM

Méadhbh McIvor, Oxford University, Presiding


Spencer Dew, Ohio State University

Dana Lloyd, Villanova University

Garrett Felber, University of Mississippi

Steven Weitzman, University of Pennsylvania

Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, Northwestern University

Elizabeth Dale, University of Florida


Ritual Studies Unit

Theme: What Gender Politics Can Rituals Make?

Sunday, November 21, 12:30 PM–2:30 PM

Grand Hyatt–Presidio B

Jone Salomonsen, University of Oslo, Presiding

Tanice Foltz, Indiana University Northwest, “The Clothesline Project as Ritual: Promoting Spiritual Healing”

Jenny Wiley Legath, Princeton University, “The Embodied Ritual Practice of Women’s Concealed Carry of Firearms”


Secularism and Secularity Unit and Theology and Religious Reflection Unit

Theme: Book Panel on Michelle C. Sanchez, Calvin and the Resignification of the World (Cambridge University Press, 2019)

Sunday, November 21, 12:30 PM–2:30 PM

Convention Center–208

David Newheiser, Australian Catholic University, Presiding


Constance Furey, Indiana University

Willie J. Jennings, Yale University

Ruben Rosario Rodriguez, Saint Louis University

Theodore Vial, Iliff School of Theology


Michelle Sanchez, Harvard University


Contemporary Islam Unit and Men, Masculinities, and Religion Unit

Theme: Muhammad’s Body: Baraka and the Prophetic Assemblage–a Conversation

Sunday, November 21, 12:30 PM–2:30 PM

Convention Center–005

Juliane Hammer, University of North Carolina, Presiding


Ash (Aisha) Geissinger, Carleton University

Rose Deighton, Emory University

Arafat Razzaque, University of Toronto

Linda G. Jones, University of Pompeu Fabra


Michael Muhammad Knight, University of Central Florida


Catholic Studies Unit and Native Traditions in the Americas Unit

Theme: Indigenized Catholicism in North America

Sunday, November 21, 12:30 PM–2:30 PM

Convention Center–213

David Walsh, Gettysburg College, Presiding

Seth Schermerhorn, Hamilton College, “Christianity Embedded into the Landscape: Ambient Catholicism in an Indigenous Community Divided by the US-Mexico International Border”

Rebecca Berru Davis, St. Catherine University, “Inculturation: Catholic Expression and Native Reception at Two Franciscan Missions in Southeastern Montana”

Andrea McComb Sanchez, University of Arizona, “Pueblo Feast Days as Indigenized Catholicism”

Abel Gomez, Syracuse University, “Surviving the California Missions: Ohlone Narratives of Colonialism, Survival, and Belonging”

Jason Sprague, University of Michigan, Dearborn, “Ziigandaasowin: Indigenous Odawa Catholic Baptism Practices”


A Comparative Religious Ethics Unit and Confucian Traditions Unit

Theme: Author Meets Critics: Aaron Stalnaker’s Mastery, Dependence, and the Ethics of Authority (Oxford University Press, 2020)

Sunday, November 21, 9:00 AM–11:00 AM

Convention Center–005

Jung Lee, Northeastern University, Presiding

Thomas A. Lewis, Brown University, “Forging Common Conversation: Labor, Literature, and the Practices of Formation”

Molly Farneth, Haverford College, “Masters, Mastery, and Freedom”

Mercedes Valmisa, Gettysburg College, TBA

Christopher Yang, Brown University, “Virtue and Skill in Early Confucianism”


Aaron Stalnaker, Indiana University


Bonhoeffer: Theology and Social Analysis Unit

Theme: Bonhoeffer, Race, Resistance, and Politics: Recent Publications

Monday, November 22, 12:30 PM–2:30 PM

Convention Center–212

Matthew Puffer, Valparaiso University, Presiding


Ross Halbach, Multnomah University

Reggie Williams, McCormick Theological Seminary

Joshua Mauldin, Center of Theological Inquiry

Lori Brandt Hale, Augsburg University

W. David Hall, Centre College

Business Meeting:

Karen V. Guth, College of the Holy Cross

AV22-240 (SV22-228)

Queer Studies in Religion Unit and Theology and Religious Reflection Unit and SBL LGBTI/Queer Hermeneutics Unit and SBL Paul and Politics Unit and SBL Pedagogy, Racism, and Biblical Studies Unit

Theme: Title TBD (Session on the Work of Hortense Spillers) 

Part 2

Monday, November 22, 1:00 PM–3:00PM

Katherine Shaner, Wake Forest University, Presiding

Ashon Crawley, University of Virginia, “Relinquishing Flesh, Regarding Flesh”

Sarah Jobe, Duke University, “Hortense Spillers and the Reclamation of Biblical ‘Flesh’”

Haley Gabrielle, Emory University, “’The Son of the Slave Woman Was Born According to the Flesh’:Reading the Flesh in Hortense Spillers and Paul”

Amey Victoria Adkins-Jones, Boston College, “Call Me Madonna: Concerning Mama’s Babies and Theology”


Hortense Spillers, Vanderbilt University


Theology and Religious Reflection Unit

Theme: Theology and Contemporary Issues

Monday, November 23, 3:00 PM–4:30 PM

Grand Hyatt–Bonham B

Eleanor Craig, Harvard University, Presiding

King-Ho Leung, University of St Andrews, “On the Critiques of Anti-Blackness and Onto-Theology”

Hannah Jones, University of Chicago, “The Political Theology of COVID-19 as Trauma”

Samuel Ernest, Yale University, “Theology and the Desire for Otherwise Words”

Skyler Keiter-Massefski, Yale University,” “Trans Theological Reflection Beyond Legibility (or, How to Dance with Ghosts)”


Theology and Continental Philosophy Unit

Theme: Race and the Origins of Capitalism

Monday, November 22, 5:00 PM–6:30 PM

Grand Hyatt–Travis AB

Anthony Paul Smith, La Salle University, Presiding

Joseph Drexler-Dreis, Xavier University of Louisiana, “A Political Theology of Re-enchantment: Critiquing Freedom in Modernity with Silvia Federici and Houria Bouteldja”

Andrew Kaplan, Emory University, “The Apocalyptic Verstimmung of Ante-Anti-Black Trembling in Ontological Terror, or the Black Messianicity of Disinheriting Being”

Adam Kotsko, North Central College, “The Political Theology of Silvia Federici”


Science, Technology, and Religion Unit

Theme: Religious Explanations of the Pandemic

Tuesday, November 23, 8:30 AM–10:00 AM

Convention Center–205

Heather Mellquist Lehto, University of Toronto, Presiding

Christopher Southgate, University of Exeter, “Expectations of Divine Action in a Viral Pandemic: An Approach from Narrative Genre”

Rebecca Catto, Kent State University, “Science, Covid, and Religion: A Regional Study”

Joshua Mauldin, Center of Theological Inquiry, “Secular Theodicy and Natural Disasters”


Ethics Unit

Theme: Religious Hope and Religious Ethics

Tuesday, November 23, 9:00 AM–11:00 AM

Frederick Simmons, Princeton Theological Seminary, Presiding

Henni Alava, Jyväskylä University, and Elina Hankela, University of Johannesburg, “Beyond Optimism and Despair: Locating Societal Hope and Hopelessness in Sub-Saharan African Christianities”

Willa Swenson-Lengyel, Villanova University, “Climate Inaction and Hope”

Elizabeth Phillips, Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology, “Danger, Memory, and Hope: Apocalyptic Texts and Christian Ethics”

Caleb Hendrickson, University of Virginia, “Expectation and Demand: Paul Tillich and the Dialectics of Hope”


Religion and Politics Unit

Theme: On the 50th Anniversary of John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice (Belknap Press, 1971) and the Study of Religion

Tuesday, November 23, 10:30 AM–12:00 PM

Molly Farneth, Haverford College, Presiding


Charles Mathewes, University of Virginia

Vincent Lloyd, Villanova University

Bharat Ranganathan, Case Western Reserve University

Nichole Flores, University of Virginia

One thought on “AAR/SBL 2021 for PTN

  1. A quick note. The following sessions will be held online rather than in person: “Pluralizing Political Theology” and “Mourning Political Theology.” (This change is reflected in the online program planner but not in the pdf program book, which was finalized some time ago.) Thanks!

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