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Category: States of Exception

“The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the ‘state of emergency’ in which we live is not the exception but the rule” (Walter Benjamin). Political theology takes up considerations of law and its exception, with a critical eye to the tradition of the oppressed. States of exception considers questions of law, governance, sovereignty, and violence.

Resources

Bibliography:

  1. Paul W. Kahn, Political Theology: Four New Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty (2011)
  2. Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (1952)
  3. Jacques Derrida, The Beast and the Sovereign (2001-2002)
  4. Ted Smith, Weird John Brown: Divine Violence and the Limits of Ethics (2014)
  5.  Giorgio Agamben, The Kingdom and the Glory: for a Theological Genealogy of Economy and Government (2011)
  6. Nicole Loraux, The Divided City: On Memory and Forgetting in Ancient Athens (2001)

Relevant Journal Articles:

  • Andrew Krinks, “The Color of Transcendence: Whiteness, Sovereignty, and the Theologico-Political,” Political Theology 19, no. 2 (2018): 79-98
  • Kyle Lambelet, “Lovers of God’s Law: The Politics of Higher Law and the Ethics of Civil Disobedience,” Political Theology 19, no. 7 (2018): 593-610
  • Bonnie Honig, “Is Man a ‘Sabbatical Animal’?: Agamben, Rosenzweig, Heschel, Arendt,” Political Theology 20, no. 1 (2019): 1-23
  • Sarah Hammerschlag, “Believing in the USA: Derrida, Melville and the Great American Charlatan,” Political Theology 21, no. 1-2 (2020): 56-70
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Mere Republicanity? How Millenials are Changing the “Christian Right” (Pt. 1)

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Within Christian traditions, one may be met with this provocative question: does “political theology” or “social ethics” sponsor liberative practices oriented towards human flourishing? Interestingly, the framing of this question requires one to choose a side. One must argue that either political theology or social ethics is poised to address the myriad theo-ethical issues we face, particularly issues of difference, pluralism, and alterity. I believe that this is a false framing of the question.

Reasoning about Exceptions – Editorial for Political Theology 15.5

One of the most important tasks for political theologians today is the cultivation of capacities for democratic reasoning about exceptions to the rule of law. The task is important because liberal societies face – or at least believe they face – a number of threats that seem to require exceptional measures in response. The pressure to make exceptions grows stronger, even as we find ourselves with fewer and weaker resources for thinking about them.

The Cloister and the Chamber: In search of Australian political philosophy (by Marion Maddox)

For decades now, we seem to have been living in “end”: the end of history, the end of ideology, the end of theory. Parties nominally of the left (“New Labour”, “Wall St Democrats”) joined those of the right to enforce “democracy” abroad and a “third way” of free market reliance at home. Ideologues and theorists had ceded decision-making to technocrats, and no one need worry about such esoteric matters as justice or fairness, since all we had to do was sit back and let a properly-tuned market deliver optimal outcomes to everybody.