The Political Theology Network is an organizing network for scholars, activists, community leaders who are interested in promoting the publicly engaged, interdisciplinary study of religion and politics. The field of political theology attends to the connections between religious and political ideas and practices, placing scholarship on religion in dialogue with scholarship from the fields of politics, philosophy, ethics, cultural studies, and critical theory. PTN functions as a “hub” for organizing and promoting this scholarship, while forming connections beyond the academy among theologians, practitioners, and humanities scholars. PTN’s main activities include the journal Political Theology, our popular blog hosted at politicaltheology.com, our podcast (Assembly), the Villanova Political Theology Project, and a regular offering of workshops, mentoring programs, and funding opportunities. The Political Theology Network is supported by its membership, Villanova University, other institutional partners, and a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.
You can find our Points of Unity here.
If you are looking for the academic journal Political Theology, published eight times per year by Taylor & Francis and a cornerstone of the Political Theology Network, you can go here.
What is political theology?
Political theology is a vibrant, interdisciplinary field of scholarship investigating deep connections between religion and politics. Scholars of Christian theology, religious studies, and critical theory have brought great energy to the field, investigating not only connections between ideas about God and ideas about the sovereign, but also connections between religious and political notions of law, justice, love, hope, and tradition—in theory and in practice. Increasingly, the field of political theology is motivated by questions of global interest and import. The field is attracting great interest, particularly among younger scholars, who have brought into question what counts as political theology and have pushed the field into exciting and diverse new directions. Scholars interested in political theology challenge the line between secular and sacred, as secular scholars ask about the religious origins of critique and even capitalism, while Christian theologians increasingly draw on methods of critique developed in secular academic spaces.
Do I have to be a theologian?
No! Scholars and students from across the humanities and social sciences are interested in the interdisciplinary field of political theology. Activists, theologians, historians, religious studies scholars, philosophers, political scientists and political organizers, faith leaders, ethicists, and critical theorists are all involved in our ongoing conversation around religion and politics.
Is the Political Theology Network Christian?
We are committed to nurturing a community that includes those whose interests are in a variety of religious traditions, whether or not they identify as members of those traditions. We also welcome those whose primary interests are theoretical.
Do I have to be a student or professor?
No! While some of our activities are geared toward those in the academy, we have a number of public-facing activities, and we welcome into our community activists, religious leaders, those in the non-profit sector, and members of the general public.
How do I get involved?
We invite you to become a member of PTN. (It’s free; the membership registration will be available soon on our website) You can participate in one of our upcoming events. You can check out our podcast or read the latest article on our blog. You could submit your writing to our well-read website or to our field-leading journal Political Theology. We’d love for you to connect with one of our four councils, which plan and organize PTN’s many ongoing events and initiatives.
The Executive Committee:
The Deepening Council — this organizing council provides oversight and advises PTN activities that enrich discussions of political theology, both inside and outside the academy. (Contact Brandy Daniels)
- PTN Book Discussion Group (contact Heather Ohaneson and Gerald Liu)
- Political Theology Unit of the American Academy of Religion (contact David Newheiser and Inese Radzins)
- Political Theology Virtual Workshops (contact Mary Nickel and Kathy Chow)
- Political Theology Network Conferences (contact Alex Dubilet)
- Political Theology journal (contact David True and Vincent Lloyd)
The Broadening Council — this organizing council provides oversight and advises PTN activities that further PTN’s reach, find new members, and forge connections with other organizations. (Contact Wonchul Shin)
- PTN Blog (contact Wonchul Shin)
- ASSEMBLY Podcast (contact hosts Amaryah Armstrong and Zac Settle)
- PTN Social Media Team (contact Ian Storey)
- PTN Activism and Outreach (contact Wonchul Shin)
- Web Advisory Group (contact Wonchul Shin and Kyle Lambelet)
The Developing Council — this organizing council provides oversight and advises PTN’s scholarly development activities, including mentoring initiatives, professional development for early-career scholars, with the objective of shaping the next generation of scholars in political theology. (Contact Heather Ohaneson)
- Dissertation Writers’ Group (contact Seth Gaiters and Aseel Najib)
- Dissertation Workshop (led by Inese Radzins)
- PTN Mentoring Initiative (to find a mentor, or to be a mentor, contact Roberto Sirvent)
- Emerging Scholars Program (contact Richard Evans)
The Structuring Council — this organizing council provides oversight and advises PTN activities that build organizations infrastructure, expanding PTN’s capacity to engage in other activities. (Contact Vincent Lloyd)
- PTN Newsletter (contact Richard Evans)
- Outreach and Partnerships with other disciplinary associations (contact Vincent Lloyd)
- PTN Advisory Board
- PTN Finance and Membership administration (contact Richard Evans)
Major Past Events
Across the Normative Divide: Religion and Race in America – with Stanford University, upcoming [covid postponement]
Religious Freedom: A Global Conversation – with Villanova University, February 2020
Death, Dying, Domination: Racism and the Ends of Life – with Villanova University, January 2020
National Conference – with Union Theology Seminary and Columbia University, October 2019
Deprovincializing Political Theology: Postcolonial and Comparative Approaches – with University of Munich, October 2019
Political Theology: Disciplined and Undisciplined – with ZfL Berlin, July 2019
Patriarchy and Political Theology – with Villanova University, March 2019
Intersectionality and Political Theology – with Villanova University, March 2019
Socialist Aspirations: Religion, Atheism, and Ethical Life – with University of Chicago, January 2019
National Conference – with Emory University, February 2018
Dignity from the Margins – with Villanova University, October 2017