I first taught this graduate seminar in 2008 as a “Topics in Political Thought” course, and called it “Political Theologies” – a political theory seminar, cross-listed with Study of Religion. Part of the motivation for teaching it was finding a set of themes and readings that would work well in a cross disciplinary way, as I’m jointly appointed to both Political Science and Study of Religion.
Simon’s book, The Faith of the Faithless: Experiments in Political Theology must be read as throwing down a great risk. Simon enters into the theological and the political domain in ways that are offensive to how these very terms have been shaped in order to stifle action, subjectivity, and even faith itself in the very name of the political and the theological.
A few radical thinkers have recently risked thinking otherwise about theology and the political. But for the most part professors (especially in the context of America) have not been willing to risk thinking otherwise about religion and the political for reasons that can only be explained by how much academic speak has been policed by the assumption that the student is little more than a passive consumer in need of placation through reinforcing their unconscious assumptions (conservative or liberal) in the pretension of being “critical” and “objective.”