Political Theology for Peace syllabus

Outline Syllabus

A. An intensive teaching weekend at Lancaster covering:

  1. An historical and theoretical overview of the politics of sovereignty, showing how the theopolitics of sovereignty is exemplified by conflict because its claims are total and the public is defined in terms of friend and enemy. This will particularly focus on the ideas of Carl Schmitt, an acknowledged instigator of the theopolitics of sovereignty, via commentators such as Michael Hollerich and Giorgio Agamben.
  2. A parallel overview of the politics of kenosis, showing how kenotic theopolitics are exemplified by love, particularly in terms of the incarnation, where it is typified by accommodating difference and giving space to the other. This will focus on the work of Hans von Balthasar, via commentators such as Graham Ward and Ben Quash and on the recent work on essential kenosis by Nazarene theologian Thomas Jay Oord.
  3. It will be proposed that the correlation of sovereignty and the sacred has worked against the theopolitics of kenosis but that key components of postmodernism and post-secularity have opened up new theopolitical space that provides the opportunity to rediscover and apply kenotic transcendence. As posited by Roger Haydon Mitchell, Graham Ward, Chris Baker and others.
  4. Kenarchy will then be considered as a basis for kenotic practice drawing on the edited volume of essays by Julie Tomlin Arram and Roger Haydon Mitchell Discovering Kenarchy (Wipf and Stock, 2014

B. A collaborative day seminar

This would be held on location in one or more of the potential city or regional hubs. Focusing on a paradigmatic problematic encountered there with discussion resourced by the readings from such as Luke Bretherton, Gillian Rose, Graham Ward and Simone Weil.

C. An on-line seminar

Five on-line seminars (webinars) focusing on the reading list and building on the Lancaster teaching weekend and the on-location collaborative day workshop will be held during the course, with online or telephone tutoring available in the intervening weeks.

D. A 5000 word mini-dissertation

This will be based on a problem relevant to the theopolitics of peace located in the work/ life context situation of the individual student, chosen in consultation with the course convenor. It will clearly spell out the nature of the problem and use the experience of the module to indicate possible action for its resolution giving evidence of a reflective knowledge of the course content, select bibliography and other relevant sources.

E. Formative development

Students will be required to produce an edited, written-up or recorded, 15 minute comparative dialogue based on a conversation with a fellow would-be peacemaker of another or no faith (Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist, Humanist, Atheist etc) focusing on resonant or parallel potentially kenotic components of thought and practice. This conversation will be submitted as a reflective written report (500 words max) outlining: (i) what they learned from the encounter; (ii) where they found kenotic components in the other parties beliefs and thinking.

Educational Aims: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

-To instil a reflective understanding of the concepts and relevance of the theopolitics of peace to current and potential peace practitioners;

-To equip the student to apply the insights of theopolitical theory to the immediate problems arising in actual contemporary geographic and demographic locations;

-To enable participants to develop collaborative learning partnerships for prophylactic peace initiatives between researchers and strategic practitioners in the public forum.

Educational Aims: General: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

–To equip students to apply a political understanding to the day to day issues of their life and work

-To increase the participants capacity to understand and reflect critically on the central political issues effecting life in a pluralistic environment;

–To equip students to meet misconnections and misalignments within significant worldviews with parallel properties having potential for harmony and peacemaking;

Learning Outcomes: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

On successful completion of this module students will …

– be equipped with the tools provided by kenotic theopolitics to work towards substantive social transformation;

– be better equipped to resolve specific operational problems faced by them in actual, located peace initiatives;

– gain practical expertise in recognising and collaborating in the development of common concepts necessary to a positive peace politics.

Learning Outcomes: General: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

On successful completion of this module students will be able to…

– demonstrate capacity for independent research

– estimate the potential contribution of their sphere of work to the politics of peace;

– understand and adjust specific areas of conflict and tension both within their area of operation and between it and other spheres of public life;

– better able to work together with other agencies for the common good.

– demonstrate their capacity to use modern social and communications media to enhance and develop their learning

Assessment: Details of Assessment

A 5000 word dissertation

This will be based on a problem relevant to the theopolitics of peace located in the work/ life context situation of the individual student, chosen in consultation with the course convenor. It will clearly spell out the nature of the problem and use the experience of the module to indicate possible action for its resolution giving evidence of a reflective knowledge of the course content, select bibliography and other relevant sources.

Select Bibliography

Agamben, Giorgio. “The State of Exception as a Paradigm of Government.” In State of Exception. Translated by Kevin Attell. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2005.

Andrews, Dave. “Reframing Jihad as a Method of Nonviolent Struggle” and “Reclaiming Jesus as a Model of Nonviolent Struggle.” In The Jihad of Jesus. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 2015.

Bretherton, Luke. “Faith Organizations and Church-State Relations.” In Christianity and Contemporary Politics. Oxford and Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

Cavanaugh, William. Theopolitical Imagination. Edinburgh and New   York: T & T Clark, 2002.

Flood, Derek.

Foucault, Michel. Right of Death and Power Over Life. In The History of Sexuality Volume 1. London: Penguin, 1990.

Holleridge, Michael. “Carl Schmitt.” In The Blackwell Companion to Political Theology. Edited by Peter Scott and William T. Cavanaugh. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2007.

Kingston-Smith, Carol. “Imagine a Carnival.” In Carnival Kingdom. Edited by Marijke Hoek et al. Gloucester: Wide Margin, 2013.

Mitchell, Roger Haydon. “Kenotic Theology.” In Church, Gospel & Empire: How the Politics of Sovereignty Impregnated the West. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 2011.

———— The Fall of the Church. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 2013.

Mitchell, Roger Haydon and Julie Tomlin Arram, eds. Discovering Kenarchy: Contemporary Resources for the Politics of Love. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 2014.

Oord, Thomas Jay. “Does Love Come First?” and “The Essential Kenosis Model of Providencein The Uncontrolling Love of God. Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Academic, 2015.

Pickstock, Catharine. “Postmodernism.” In The Blackwell Companion to Political Theology. Edited by Peter Scott and William T. Cavanaugh. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2007.

Quash, Ben. “Drama and the Ends of Modernity.” In Balthasar at the End of Modernity. Edited by Lucy Gardner et al. Edinburgh. T & T Clark Ltd, 1999.

Sachs, Jonathan. “The Dignity of Difference: Exorcizing Plato’s Ghost.” In The Dignity of Difference. London and New York: Continuum, 2002.

Singleton, Daniel, ed. Faith With Its Sleeves Rolled Up. London: FaithAction 2013.

Ward, Graham. “Kenosis: Death, Discourse and Resurrection.” In Balthasar at the End of Modernity. Edited by Lucy Gardner et al. Edinburgh. T & T Clark Ltd, 1999.

———— “How Do Cultures Change? In Cultural Transformation and Religious Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

———— “Postsecularity?” In The Politics of Discipleship. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2009.

Weil, Simone. “Introduction” and Gravity and Grace. London and New York: Routledge, 2002, pp. 8-40, 62-93.

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