The editors of Political Theology are pleased to announce that the latest issue, 15.4, is now available on the web. Our main articles this issue offer a range of reflections, both theoretical and applied, on pressing contemporary issues, such as migration, non-violent resistance, black theology, and the conceptualization of otherness. See abstracts and full contents below.
GUEST EDITORIAL: Hannah Arendt and the Crisis of the Humanities?
by Julia Reinhard Lupton, The University of California, Irvine, USA
Justice Not Benevolence:Catholic Social Thought, Migration Theory, and the Rights of Migrants
by Tisha M. Rajendra
Although there are many migration theories that purport to explain why people migrate, many theologies and ethics of migration rely on neoclassical migration theory, which views migration solely as the result of poverty and unemployment in sending countries. This paper reviews various migration theories in order to argue that Catholic social teaching on migration has primarily relied on neoclassical theories of migration. This over-reliance on neoclassical migration theory has led to flawed policy recommendations and ethical analyses. Christian ethics must respond to the reality of migration as described by migration systems theory, which suggests that migration systems are actually initiated by the policies of receiving countries, primarily colonial and organized guest worker recruitment. The ethical principles required to respond to migration are not only benevolence and hospitality. Christian ethics must begin by seeing migration as a problem of exploitative relationships between citizens and migrants.
The Transcendence of State-Sanctioned Violence and Christian Solidarity: East Timor and the End of the Indonesian Occupation
by Joel Hodge
This essay is concerned with the nature of the human experiences of transcendence and solidarity with particular reference to state-sanctioned violence and the non-violent resistance inspired by Christian faith. With research undertaken in East Timor, the essay identifies two different forms of transcendence—one marked by mob violence; and the other by ecclesial solidarity. It explores these forms of transcendence in the context of the state sanctioned executions in East Timor that occurred in 1999 after the populace voted for independence from Indonesia, which had brutally occupied the territory from 1975 to 1999. Through the story of a group that was to be executed, the essay explores the nature of state-sanctioned violence as structured by violent transcendence; and the Christian solidarity informed by a pacific transcendence located in the victimhood of Christ. The essay claims that the anthropological insights of René Girard provide an important lens to understanding the East Timorese experience, in which I argue that state sanctioned violence was resisted through the pacific transcendence located in Christ that awakened a consciousness of the victim.
“But Do the Lord Care?”: Tupac Shakur as Theologian of the Crucified People
by Katie Grimes
The slain rapper Tupac Shakur contributes indispensably to two contemporary theologies centered around the crucified people, the theological aesthetics of liberation presented by Roberto Goizueta and the theology of the lynching tree articulated by James Cone. Placing the pioneering work of Goizueta and Cone in conversation with existing scholarship on the theological importance of Shakur’s music, I argue that Tupac crafts a theological aesthetics of liberation aimed at illuminating the injustice and Christological implications of the hypersegregated ghetto and the black mass prison.
Hospitality and Hope: Self and Other in the Work of Jacques Derrida and Jean Piaget
by Helen Schroepfer
Major currents within contemporary continental thought have been significantly influenced by the psychoanalytic tradition, particularly via Jacques Lacan. Thus a pervasive stream of thought conceives of the relationship between self and other as one characterized primarily by conflict, threat, or lack. This reading has often been taken as paradigmatic and broadened to include relations between societies. If not challenged, this paradigm undermines any cause for hope that society might be structured in terms other than us/them, insider/outsider. Jacques Derrida’s work opens up a way to think differently, training our attention on the essential affirmation of the other that underlies all human experience. The central thesis of this paper is that the developmental theory of Jean Piaget, read against the grain of how his work has often been appropriated, lends robust support to this more hopeful reading, highlighting a self constituted in and by orientation to the other. Currents within contemporary developmental psychology provide substantial support for this more hopeful and hospitable image of self and other.
Charles Taylor, José Casanova, and George F. McLean, eds, Church and People: Disjunctions in a Secular Age.
by Erick Hedrick-Moser
Margaret R. Pfeil and Tobias Winright, eds, Violence, Transformation, and the Sacred: ‘‘They Shall Be Called Children of God.’’
by Stephen Lawson
Lisa Sowle Cahill, Global Justice, Christology, and Christian Ethics.
by Arlene F. Montevecchio
Nigel Biggar, In Defence of War.
by Shawn Aghajan
Daniel Barber, On Diaspora: Christianity, Religion, and Secularity.
by Silas Morgan
Joseph F. Kelly, History and Heresy: How Doctrinal Forces Can Create Historical Conflicts.
by Aaron Taylor