Seminar Series: Populism and Religion Spring 2022

Seminar Series in Populism and Religion at Lund.

Looking at populist rhetoric from a ‘Biblical’ point of view
Maria Armida Nicolaci
February 2, 16h15-18h00
Zoom: https://lu-se.zoom.us/j/67579862136
Meeting ID: 675 7986 2136

Some so-called ‘tribal’ or premodern traits of modern populisms prompt us to evaluate populist rhetoric in light of the way in which the Christian Bible represents the identity of the ‘people of God’. Prophetic speech, especially, is depicted as a relentless fight against the various fetishes of the “people of God” and its idolatrous absolutization – as if it was a monolithic, ahistorical, untouchable, and abstract entity. Even the Scriptures, therefore, display a dynamics of identity comparable to the morphologies of some populisms. A glimpse at the ways in which the Christian Bible also unveils and challenges similar dynamics can provide useful insight for elaborating a non-idolatrous and, indeed, inclusive and open notion of a ‘people’.

Marida Nicolaci is Professor of New Testament Exegesis at the Theological Faculty of Sicily. Her research focuses on Johannine literature, Catholic epistles, the origins of Christianity, and Biblical Hermeneutics. Among her recent publications are: ‘The “People of God” and its Idols in “The One and the Other Testament”: How Sacred Scripture Challenges Populist Rhetoric’ (2019); ‘Le “parole di Dio” nella Chiesa. Tradizione in tensione’ (2019); and ‘Oltre i muri. Identità e differenza come dono’ (2021).

Populism in the Buddhist World
Charlie Carstens
April 13, 16h15-18h00
Zoom: https://lu-se.zoom.us/j/67579862136
Meeting ID: 675 7986 2136

In the wake of its meteoric rise in public and scholarly circles, “populism” has accumulated an expansive—and at times dizzying—array of meanings, conceptualizations, and applications. We have become relatively comfortable with discussing this phenomenon in present-day, historically Christian settings (e.g., Europe, North America). But how tethered is populism to this setting? This presentation will consider the viability and analytical value of populism for three case studies from the pre-modern Buddhist world. Our aim is to draw upon this disparate cultural setting both to probe the limits of populism and to draw attention to its historical situatedness.

Charlie Carstens is a Ph.D. candidate in the study of religion at Harvard University. He holds a Masters of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and a BA in Economics from Carleton College. His dissertation investigates theories and practices of power expressed through historical, poetic, administrative, and ritual texts of pre-colonial Burma. His research interests include historiography, governance, secularism, aesthetics, identity, and ethics.

Apocalyptic Hope and Political Defeatism 
Jayne Svenungsson
May 11, 16h15-18h00
Zoom: https://lu-se.zoom.us/j/67579862136
Meeting ID: 675 7986 2136

The increased presence of apocalyptic motifs in populist discourses have attracted large scholarly interest in recent years. This seminar will focus on how these tendencies are mirrored within contemporary political-theological thinking. While some political theologians depict apocalypticism as a liberating or progressive force, others see it as a dangerous or reactive phenomenon. Departing from the premise that apocalypticism per se is neither nor, the seminar will explore and ponder the potential promises as well as perils related to the notion of apocalyptic hope. 

Jayne Svenungsson is Professor of Systematic Theology at the Lund University. Her research focuses on political theology and philosophy of history. Among her most recent publications are ‘Radical Incarnation: The Dangers and Promises of Christian Universalism in the Wake of Badiou’s Saint Paul’ (2021), and ‘Secularization’ in Bloomsbury History: Theory and Method (2021). 

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The Art of Re/Constructing Society: On avantgarde women, material theology and a future worth dreaming of

Ass. Prof. Petra Carlsson Redell, Stockholm School of Theology will give this years Aasta Hansteen Lecture on Gender and Religion at the Faculty of Theology, University of Oslo.

Time and place: Oct. 14, 2021 11:00 AM–12:00 PM,  Faculty Library, Domus Theologica, Blinderveien 9, Oslo

The seminar with Ass. Prof. Petra Carlsson Redell, beginning with a short response from the invited first respondent Ph.D. Simone Kotva, now Postdoc with the ECODISTURB project at TF 

The seminar offers an opportunity to engage with prof Carlsson Rydell’s lecture through comments, questions, and discussion. Or to just listen and learn. 

Abstract

Russian avantgarde art from the beginning of the 20th century is famous for its treatment of color, form, and matter as part of a political vision for an equal, just, and sustainable society. Less known is its inspiration from theological and iconographic wisdom. The lecture introduces a key voice among this influential artistic group—constructivist artist and thinker Liubov Popova (1889-1924). Her work and thought stood out among her contemporaries by the way in which she combined a feminist, materialist political vision with spirituality and an un/orthodox inspiration from theology. The lecture introduces Popova as a source of inspiration for political and material theology today.

The lecture and seminar are open to all. It will also be streamed through zoom.

https://www.tf.uio.no/english/research/memorial-lectures/events/2021/aasta-hansten-memorial-lecture-2021.html

Program:

  • 11.00 – 12.00 Library, TF  – Lecture by Ass. Prof. Petra Carlsson Redell
  • 12.00-13.00 Lunch break
  • 13.00-15.00 Seminar room 214, TF

About Petra Carlsson

Petra Carlsson is an associate professor of Systematic Theology and dean of Stockholm School of Theology, University College Stockholm. Her research interests are in the borderland of theology, philosophy, ecology, art and activism. She is the author of Avantgarde Art and Radical Material Theology (Routledge, 2020), Foucault, Art, and Radical Theology (Routledge, 2020), Mysticism as Revolt (Davies Group, 2014), and is currently working on a manuscript tentatively titled Nonhuman Histories of Thought. Her Youtube channel includes lectures for teaching as well as mini-lectures inspired by green and queer activism, art and experimental theology. 

About Simone Kotva

Simone Kotva is Research Fellow at the Faculty of Theology, University of Oslo, where she works on the interdisciplinary ECODISTURB project. Her work is situated at the intersection of ecology, theology and critical theory. She is the author of Effort and Grace: On the Spiritual Exercise of Philosophy (London: Bloomsbury, 2020), and is currently completing a second book on political spirituality and earth ethics, Ecologies of Ecstasy: Mysticism, Agency and the More-than-Human. In 2021 she convened Magic and Ecology, an inovative seminar series mapping alternative approaches to climate justice from spiritual traditions rooted in the earth and indigenous lifeways

Publications Petra Carlsson

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Seminar Series: Populism and Religion

Online seminar Series: Populism and Religion, Lund
Autumn 2021 — three seminars online

Right-wing Populism and Religion – a Case of Banal religion? 
Andreas Mebus
September 28, 16h15-18h00
Zoom: https://lu-se.zoom.us/j/67579862136
Meeting ID: 675 7986 2136

We are all nationalists; in some banal way or another – as Michael Billig taught us in the late ’90s. And we are all Christian; at least we all share common Judeo-Christian values – or so have most European populist radical right parties tried to convince us for over a decade. Especially populist radical right parties in Scandinavia. This seminar welcomes students and scholars alike to discuss the uses of religion by populist radical right parties in a Scandinavian context and together explore the hypothesis, that the uses of religion by e.g. Danish People’s Party can be conceptualized as banal religion.  

Andreas Mebus is Lecturer in the Study of Religions at the University of Southern Denmark and specialized in philosophical related topics in the field. He teaches various courses, in particular on philosophy of science, philosophy of religion and political philosophy in relation to religion. His research interests include philosophy of history within the field of metaphysis and related topics, populism, nationalism, and extremism as political ideas, as well as the interrelation of religion, ideology and democracy with a political philosophical approach. In 2019 he published a monograph on populism: Populism, Slave morality, and Democracy.

On People in Populism and Religion
Ervik Cejvan
October 14, 16h15-18h00
Zoom: https://lu-se.zoom.us/j/67579862136
Meeting ID: 675 7986 2136

Reviewing religion through the critique of ideology will reveal the formations of ideology itself. This approach bases on observation that the religious organisation of human life precedes and conditions its political organisation. This allows for the critique and analysis of the transmissions and omissions of the particularities of the religious organisation in the political organisation. Employing the logic of displacement at work here, we will establish first steps toward the analysis of the function of the people, in religion and populism. In the instance of the people, we will see, the interpolation of religion in populism, is not incidental. Religion is the primal form of the organisation of the people. Populism is its current expression, of the impossibility of establishing a true religious/democratic universalism.  

Ervik Cejvan is affiliated researcher in philosophy of religion at the Centre for Theology and Religious Studies, Lund University. His research interests include the philosophical applications of psychoanalytic theory, the interpretations of religion in political philosophy and social sciences, and the expressions of religion in populism and nationalism. In January 2021 he successfully defended his doctoral thesis Critique of Exaggeration: Thinking Beyond. 

NB The previously announced seminar with Marc Boss is postponed due to personal reasons. 

Populist Discourse, Authenticity and Violence
Patrik Fridlund
November 25, 16h15-18h00
Zoom: https://lu-se.zoom.us/j/67579862136
Meeting ID: 675 7986 2136

Populist political discourses, exemplified by Trump’s rhetoric, are not primarily based on facts. They must rather be judged on the effects they have. A thesis is that what is important to for instance Trump’s supporters is whether Trump is authentic, not whether every uttered word is ‘true’ in a simple sense. Therefore, a critical evaluation of populist political discourses is not helped by analyses of whether they are ‘true’. Therefore it is more fruitful to ask populists what kind of authenticity they are striving for, including the issue of violence. Theology and philosophy can provide useful tools regarding being authentic.

Patrik Fridlund is Associate Professor (docent) in Philosophy of Religion at Lund University, teaching and tutoring students on all levels. In particular, Fridlund is responsible for a course on populism and theology. His research interests include  plurality of religions, religion and politics, post-truth politics, and populism. He is Deputy director of the journal Logoi.ph and senior scholar at the platform Christianity and Nationalism. Among his recent publications are ’Post-truth Politics, Responsible Irresponsibility and Ethics — Postmodernist Philosophers Revisited’ (2020), ’Post-truth Politics, Performatives and the Force’ (2020), ’Le dialogue interreligieux est-il vraiment un dialogue des rationalités religieuses ou culturelles ?’ (2019).

About the Seminar Series
These seminars on populism and Christianity focus on the theoretical, philosophical and theological aspects of populism. The worldview and the conception of politics — political community, political processes and political decision-making — are typically issues that characterise populist thought. One fundamental conviction is that precisely this kind of questions is necessary to deal with if we want to deepen the dialogue about how society is organised beyond straightforward descriptions and explanations of certain facts. Descriptions and certain facts cannot exclusively account for all the questions society constantly poses, let alone the answers.

Both senior and junior scholars, as well as doctoral students and beginners are welcome to the seminar. In order to reach as many as possible, the main language is English, but in the future occasional seminars in Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, French or German, are not precluded, if that is appropriate.

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European Conference in Science and Theology

The European Conference on Science and Theology (ECST XIX) will take place in Ålesund, Norway, May 4-8, 2022:«Global Sustainability: Science and Religion in Dialogue»

Conference webpage: https://www.hivolda.no/ecstxix
ESSSAT’s webpage: www.esssat.net

At our 2022 ESSSAT conference in Norway, in one of the most scenic environmental settings in Europe, we want to bring science, humanities, social science, ethics and theology into interdisciplinary dialogue about questions of sustainability and about how religions, being a primary resource of values in any culture, might contribute to this task. Our main speakers will be drawn from the fields of Sustainability Science, Ethics, Sociology and Theology, and we invite everybody from within and outside the ESSSAT community to join our exchange of ideas and to contribute to our discussions and paper sessions.

(Dirk Evers, President ESSSAT)

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Seminar: Flesh of One’s Flesh: The Bible, George Bataille, and Black Studies

We are happy to announce the second lecture organized by the project End of Law on 30 september 16:00 to 17:30 (CEST).

Our guest is Bruce Rosenstock, professor and director of graduate studies at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who works in the field of philosophy and religion.

Rosenstocks’s talk will be centered around the notion of kinship and slavery in Leviticus and its Nachleben in Black Studies and how it can be used to confront George Bataille’s discussion of sovereignity and law.

The phrase “flesh of one’s flesh” is used in the Levitical prohibitions against incest (Lev 18) to refer to individuals with such proximate kinship bonds to one another that they are excluded from becoming marriage partners. The prohibited act of incest is named with the phrase “to reveal nakedness.” The incest prohibitions in Leviticus are part of a Priestly stratum known as the Holiness Code, the goal of which is to extend access to the holy across the entirety of the people in their behavior outside of the Temple. This Holiness School program has been called “egalitarian” and “revolutionary,” and in the first part of the presentation Rosenstock will explore the theopolitical implications of this program to sacralize human reproduction and to identify incest as the most egregious assault possible against the enfleshed holiness of Israel’s and humanity’s One God Yahweh. The second part of the talk will examine the terrible legacy of the Holiness Code’s attempt to sacralize kinship flesh and how it was used by Christians as a means to legitimate slavery, and how it can be related to George Bataille’s exploration of the “inner experience” of the sacrality of the reproductive power of human flesh

Rosenstock has written several books and articles on ancient and modern philosophy and religion. His latest monograph is a study of Oskar Goldberg: Transfinite Life: Oskar Goldberg and the Vitalist Imagination which argues that Goldberg’s philosophy is best understood as part of the resurgent vitalism of the early twentieth century. He is at the moment working on a book to be titled Hegel and the Holocaust. This study will treat thinkers who have attempted to respond to the Holocaust in the terms of Hegel’s philosophy of history.

Joing through the following Zoom link: https://gu-se.zoom.us/j/62271706840?pwd=R3dmbllvamxRMm9kYjVMZG5JRVNPUT09#success or send an email to tormod.otter.johansen@law.gu.se.

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Prot­est­ant Nar­rat­ives on Europe after 1945

We warmly welcome you to join us in next week’s EuroStorie research seminar on Friday, 24th of September at 1:00pm–2:00pm (EEST) via Zoom live stream.

Please see the link below. 

Dr. Kath­ar­ina Kunter (University of Helsinki) will be presenting on the subject of “Prot­est­ant Nar­rat­ives on Europe after 1945”.


When: Friday 24.9.2021 at 1:00pm–2:00pm EEST

Where: Please join us live via Zoom-stream on the following address: https://helsinki.zoom.us/j/69853459330
Meeting ID: 698 5345 9330

Event webpage:https://www2.helsinki.fi/en/news/society-economy/eurostorie-research-seminar-katharina-kunter-24.9.2021

Abstract

In contrast to Catholicism in Europe, which quickly became a supporter of European Integration after 1945, Protestantism’s attitude towards Europe was much more diverse and ambivalent. Federal ideas of Europe emerged during the Second World War in the context of the Ecumenical Movement, but did not enter the Protestant mainstream after 1945. Much more dominant, on the other hand, was a Eurosceptic narrative, which was represented above all by German and some Eastern European Protestants and in the World Council of Churches. The talk unfolds this as well as other Protestant narratives on Europe after 1945, such as the pan-European bridge-building idea of the Conference of European Churches or the pastoral interpretation of Europe among Protestants in Strasbourg and Brussels.


About the speaker

Katharina Kunter studied History and Protestant Theology at the Universities of Gießen and Heidelberg in Germany and is Professor for Contemporary Church History at the Faculty of Theology at the University of Helsinki.  Since her dissertation on the “Churches in the Helsinki Process”, she has been researching the history and historical narratives of European Protestantism after 1945. For more information, please visit here.

Welcome!
For more information about EuroStorie, the Centre of Excellence in Law, Identity and the European Narratives, please visit www.eurostorie.org, or follow us on social media @eurostorie.

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20th Nordic Conference for Systematic Theology

Creation and Crisis: Reopening the Scandinavian Creation Theology

January Friday 14 – Sunday 16 2022
Aarhus University, Denmark

Conference fee:
950 DKK

Registration deadline:
15 December 2021

Call for Papers deadline for short papers:
1 November 2021


Subthemes: 
Creation theology and Climate change
Creation and Vulnerability
Vulnerability and Climate Justice
A World with Corona – historical, ethical, and epistomological perspectives

About the keynotes:
Niels Henrik Gregersen is Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Copenhagen, after having taught 17 years at Aarhus University. Within the field of science-and-theology, he focused on and is well known for developing theories of self-organization and information. Within the field of systematic theology, he developed the concept of Deep Incarnation in the context of a theology of creation. He is the author of seven monographs, three co-authored books, and numerous articles. His work is translated into ten languages.

Simone Kotva is Postdoc in Systematic Theology at the University of Oslo. She received her PhD from the University of Cambridge and has taught at the universities of Gothenburg and Cambridge. She works at the intersection of religion, philosophy and geopolitics, and has a special interest in French spiritualism and the relationship between mysticism’s technologies of the self and the science of techno-fixing the earth. She is the author of Effort and Grace: On the Spiritual Exercise of Philosophy (Bloomsbury, 2020) and is currently working on a second monograph, An Enquiry Concerning Nonhuman Understanding: God/s, Species, Crossings.

Serafim Seppälä is Professor of Systematic Theology and Patristics at the University of Eastern Finland, and a hieromonk in the Orthodox Church of Finland. In addition to a number of monographs and translations in Finnish, he is the author of multiple articles in the areas of patristic studies, Byzantine aesthetics, Syriac literature, Jewish-Christian encounter, early Islamic-Christian encounter, and the cultural heritage of Armenian genocide.

For further information, please contact the planning committee:

Else Marie Wiberg Pedersen, University of Aarhus (chairperson) teoewp@cas.au.dk

Christine Svinth-Værge Põder, University of Copenhagen: cpo@teol.ku.dk

Anni Maria Laato, Åbo Akademi University: Anni-Maria.Laato@abo.fi

Marius Timmann Mjaaland, University of Oslo: m.t.mjaaland@teologi.uio.no

Petra Carlsson, Stockholm School of Theology: petra.carlsson@ehs.se

Sólveig Anna Bóasdóttir, University of Iceland: solanna@hi.is

Conference website.

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Theological Genealogies of Modernity – recordings

Recordings are now online from the Theological Genealogies of Modernity conference. You can watch them on the conference’s YouTube channel.

Genealogies of modernity are broad narrative accounts of the rise and nature of our present cultural condition. Theology nearly always features, in some way or another, in narratives about the formation of modernity, even if its role is just being a discourse and set of practices that was gradually marginalized by the onset of a more secular age. This conference gathers together an international team of scholars to explore genealogies of modernity sympathetically and to evaluate them critically. The contributors will discuss a range of important figures and focused topics, and they will pay special attention to stories that are often, though perhaps unhelpfully, understood as decline narratives—accounts of modernity that do not associate it unambiguously with progress. So-called decline genealogies have significant influence within theology across several confessional traditions, but like any narrative with the massive scope of a genealogy of modernity, making a case for them is necessarily complex. How are “decline” narratives and other accounts constructed? If these stories seek to do something more than just to describe historical processes, how do subtly normative dimensions enter into them? How do genealogical narratives look from the perspective of constituencies that are often marginalized?

Register for free at TheoGenealogies.eventbrite.co.uk

Conference Papers

Christine Helmer, “Gen[der]ealogy: A Theological Account”

Jonathan Teubner, “Liberal Progress, Historical Decline: Adolf von Harnack and the Practice of Historical Theology in the United States”

Cyril O’Regan, “Heidegger’s Apocalyptic Philosophy and the Return of Marcionism”

Brad Gregory, “Is Global Ecological Disaster a Sufficient Criterion for a ‘Narrative of Decline?’ Capitalism, Liberalism, and the Anthropocene”

Joel Rasmussen, “A Vote of Thanks to Nietzsche: Christianity, Modernity, and Cultural Plurality”

John Milbank, “Theology, Philosophy and History”

Silvianne Aspray, “How Then Should We Write Genealogies? A Proposal”

Ragnar Misje Bergem, “The Spirit of Modernity and its Fate”

Peter Harrison, “Genealogy, Normativity, and Naturalism”

Darren Sarisky, “Recharacterizing ‘Decline’ Narratives”

Pui-Him Ip, “Spiritual Exegesis, Ressourcement, and Theological Genealogies”

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Resonans seminar 7 Sept: ‘I Will Shake All Nations’: Theological Perspectives on Nationalism and Universalism

7 September 16.16-18.00 (CET)

Joint seminar with the “Christianity and Nationalism” project at Centrum för teologi och religionsvetenskap, Lunds Universitet. 

Since the beginning of Christianity, Christian theology has struggled to articulate  the difference of the Christian message and practice in relationship to the universal visions of political communities. With the crisis of representation and the heightened tensions between apparently ‘particularist’ nationalism and ‘abstract’ cosmopolitanism, how can theology formulate anew a universalism that is neither irreducibly particularist nor without place, context, or identity? And how can such an approach shed light on contemporary debates about nationalism? 

Ragnar Misje Bergem is a postdoctoral fellow in systematic theology at the MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society.

Mårten Björk is a postdoctoral researcher in systematic theology at CTR, Lund University.

Chaired by Jayne Svenungsson (Lund).

Zoom-URL: https://lu-se.zoom.us/j/69542595209

See also https://resonans.mf.no/seminars/

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