15 May 2009

CONF: 2009 meeting of the American Academy of Religion

Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion (AAR), Montréal, Canada, 7-10 November 2009

In 2009, a significant increase is to be observed in the number of panels accepted for the annual meeting of the AAR that are concerned with political theology.

First, Hent de Vries (Johns Hopkins University) and Corey D. B. Walker (Brown University) invited contributions to a "Theology and the Political Consultation". Besides co-sponsering a panel on "Augustine and Democratic Politics", they also organize as part of their consultation a panel on "Aesthetics, Ethics, and the Politics of Theology" (event locations are only available to members logged in to the AAR’s website.)

The consultation wants to provide a forum for religious studies scholars, philosophers, and theologians to critically reflect on different conceptions of the "political" and draw out the theoretical and practical significance for the tasks of theology. The panel at this year's AAR meeting features papers that critically examine the cultural, political, and philosophical aspects of discourses of aesthetics and ethics as related to historic and contemporary elaborations of political theology and political theory.

Second, the "Feminist Theory and Religious Reflection Group" organizes a panel on "Political Subjectivity and Praxis: Feminist Theoretical Approaches to Public/Political Theology".

Third, the "Religion and Politics Section" sponsors a panel on "Political Theology: Public and Private, Culture, and Counterculture".

Fourth, the "Philosophy of Religion Section" and the "Study of Judaism Section" co-sponsor a panel on "The Mosaic Distinction: Judaism after Political Theology".

This panel will analyze recent trends in political theology from the perspective of the meaning of the "Mosaic Distinction". Within Judaism, the "Mosaic Distinction" invokes the event of God’s unique and sovereign revelation to the Jewish people at Sinai as lived through Jewish law. The legitimacy of this account is presupposed in varying expressions throughout the prophetic, rabbinic, philosophical, and mystical traditions. Nonetheless, the authority and meaning of this concept has been reinterpreted and challenged by an intellectual movement now commonly referred to as political theology. The purpose of the panel is to offer analyses of how the "Mosaic Distinction" has been dealt with in the work of leading figures in political theology, including Freud, Assmann, Taubes, Žižek, Agamben, and Schmitt, and to present constructive responses by leading contemporary Jewish philosophers.

The AAR annual meeting online programme (including abstracts of the respective papers in each panel) is available and searchable at:


Further information and registration:


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