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Announcing the Emerging Scholars Cohort

Please join us in congratulating and welcoming this excellent cohort of scholars to the Political Theology Network.

The Political Theology Network is thrilled to announce its first cohort for our new Emerging Scholars in Political Theology program. Each scholar was selected because they represent the next generation of creative and thoughtful political theology scholars. The Emerging Scholars in Political Theology program will involve facilitated discussions of shared readings, teaching and syllabus workshops, and training in public scholarship. Participants will share and discuss works-in-progress and will meet with academic and non-academic experts as we reflect on the state of the field.

Please join us in congratulating and welcoming this excellent cohort of scholars to the Political Theology Network.

Linette Park is the Thurgood Marshall Postdoctoral Fellow in the African and African American Studies Program at Dartmouth College. She received her Ph.D. in the Culture and Theory Program with emphasis in Critical Theory and Law, Culture, and Society at the University of California, Irvine (2019). There, she received the 2017-2018 Michael and Stacey Koehn Endowed Research Award in Critical Theory. She is currently preparing her first book monograph, At the Edge of Abolition: Violence and Imagination in the History of California Lynch Law, which examines the present day “lynching arrests” by interrogating the historical, political, and psychosocial formations of violence that inextricably bind these arrests to the afterlife of racial slavery, lynching, and segregation in the United States. Dr. Park also holds a Master’s from the Critical Studies Department at the California Institute of the Arts, and a Bachelor’s in Studio Art from the University of California, Los Angeles. She has published in the peer-reviewed journal, Theory and Event, and has forthcoming work in Black Scholar: Journal of Black Studies and Research, Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society, and boundary2: An International Journal of Literature and Culture.

Dr. King-Ho Leung is Research Fellow in Philosophical Theology at the University of St Andrews, and was previously Lecturer in Philosophy and Theology at the University of Chester, UK. Dr. Leung’s research interests are broadly in the intersections between contemporary continental philosophy and theology, especially philosophy as a way of life, metaphysics, and philosophical anthropology. His works have been published in Telos, Political Theology, Studies in Christian Ethics, and other journals.

Yang Shen is a cultural anthropologist focusing on ritual theory, political secularism, Chinese temple practices, and Mahayana Buddhism. She graduated from Boston University in anthropology in October 2019. In her dissertation, “Sidestepping Secularism: Performance and Imagination in Buddhist Temple-scapes in Contemporary China,” she investigated the dynamics between ritual and creativity as they entangle with understandings of history. As an engaged anthropologist of China, Yang sees ethnography as a reflexive practice of historical inquiry. Rooted in Chinese intellectual traditions, Yang hopes to bring to the Political Theology network Sima Qian’s critical approach to historiography that seeks to “investigate the edge between heaven and human, grasp the changes between pasts and presents, and come up with one’s own terms of history that speak to the human community” (Letter to Ren An, 93/91 BCE). Currently, Yang works as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Religious Diversity, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen, Germany. 

Eleanor Craig is Program Director and Lecturer for the Standing Committee on Ethnicity, Migration, Rights at Harvard University. Craig’s work explores the intersecting histories of race and religion in the Americas using philosophical and literary approaches. A current book project, tentatively entitled Fated Falls: Racial Religious Imaginaries in the Study of Trauma, analyzes the theological narratives that undergird trauma studies. Craig is co-editor with An Yountae of In the Image of Man: Race, Coloniality, and Philosophy of Religion, forthcoming from Duke University Press.

Timothy Bowers Vasko (Andrew W. Mellon Foundation NASI Postdoctoral Fellow) completed his Ph.D in Government at Cornell University with a specialization in Political Theory, Indigenous Studies, and Africana Thought in 2018. He is a scholar of the political theology of colonial power in the Americas. His current manuscript is titled The Invention of the Indigene: Native Information and Doctrines of Discovery in the Early-Modern Americas. This project explores how the “discovery” of the Americas fundamentally challenged the theological basis of European claims to legitimate authority on both sides of the Atlantic in the 16th and 17th centuries. Specifically, he demonstrates how European Christians claimed knowledge of and good relationships with indigenous people and religions to justify competing imperial claims in the Americas. Early-modern colonists collaborated with and conscripted native peoples into institutions such as plantations and missionary schools in order to know and govern them more effectively. The architects of the Doctrine of Discovery referred to these projects as evidence that their own empire’s mode of colonization would be more understanding, humane, consensual, and therefore legitimate in the eyes of God than their competitors. And this formed the basis of justifications for colonial expansion into the Americas during the 16th and 17th centuries. Tim’s work has appeared in the journals Contemporary Political Theory, History of the Human Sciences, and Settler Colonial Studies. In January 2020, Tim was appointed Assistant Professor of Religion and Human Rights at Barnard College, where he will begin teaching in September 2020.

Basit Kareem Iqbal is a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Alberta. He received his PhD from the UC Berkeley Department of Anthropology, with a Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory, in December 2019. His dissertation,“Tribulation and Repair: Islamic Humanitarianism after the Syrian War,” is an ethnography of religion and refuge in the aftermath of violence and dispossession. Based on fieldwork in Jordan and Canada, it elaborates how refugees and aid workers relate to each other and to the ongoing catastrophe in Syria through inhabiting the tradition of Islam. In July 2020, he will join McMaster University as Assistant Professor of Social-Cultural Anthropology.


Vincent Lloyd is Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies and Director of the Africana Studies Program at Villanova University. He co-edits the journal Political Theology and directs the Villanova Political Theology Project, an interdisciplinary research hub. Lloyd’s books include Law and Transcendence, The Problem with Grace: Reconfiguring Political Theology, Black Natural Law, and the co-edited Race and Secularism in America. His most recent book, co-authored with Joshua Dubler, is Break Every Yoke: Religion, Justice, and the Abolition of Prisons.

Winnifred Fallers Sullivan (J.D., Ph.D., University of Chicago) is Provost Professor, Department of Religious Studies, and affiliated Professor of Law, Maurer School of Law, Indiana University Bloomington. She also directs the Center for Religion and the Human. Sullivan studies the intersection of religion and law in the modern period, particularly the phenomenology of modern religion as it is shaped in its encounter with law. She is the author of Paying the Words Extra: Religious Discourse in the Supreme Court of the United States (Harvard 1994); The Impossibility of Religious Freedom (Princeton 2005), Prison Religion: Faith-based Reform and the Constitution (Princeton, 2009), A Ministry of Presence: Chaplaincy, Spiritual Care and the Law (Chicago 2014), and Church State Corporation (Chicago 2020); co-author of Ekklesia: Three Inquiries in Church and State (Chicago 2018); and co-editor of Politics of Religious Freedom (Chicago 2016) and Theologies of American Exceptionalism (Indiana 2020).

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