Keynote abstracts

Catherine Keller: Ecology of Intersections: Democratic Fragility, White Man's Christianity and Feminist Theology.

The US exceptionalism of the right, set on trumping democratic norms of sex/gender, racial and religious equality, threatens to become the rule - and not only in the US. Its economically secularized 'dominion theology' simultaneously wraps the earth's fate in anthropic exceptionalism. A politically sustainable democracy now depends upon efficacious solidarities of difficult difference, local in intensity, and planetary in perspective. Might a Black feminist "intersectionalism", amplified ecotheologically, strengthen the resistance and the alternative to every political exceptionalism? 


Lovisa Mienna Sjøberg: Gárvves máilbmi – A Complete World. Stories from Sápmi that tell us about responsibility in God's Creation.

In the Sámi tradition, there are many stories that teach us about responsibility in our relationship with the Creation and other-than-human beings. Many, if not all, of these stories have connections to Christianity and how Christianity is perceived and lived in Sámi contexts. This lecture will focus on human relationships with animals as they are presented in narratives about the primordial mothers of all animals. These and other similar stories are connected to our responsibilities as human beings. There are also stories about what will happen to Creation if we violate these relationships by not taking responsibility. Sámi stories about human-Creation relationships can also be connected to the massive environmental destruction in the wake of green colonialism in Sápmi today.


Cathrine Thorleifsson: Sacralizing Supremacy: On far-right scapegoating in the age of mediated threats.

This talk examines how contemporary far-right parties and movements deploy religion to propagate authoritarian nationalism. Examining ways in which far-right actors in Europe and cyberspace mobilize, I suggest that religion is used as a resource to set the conditions for an interpretation of aggrieved nationhood that requires urgent heroic defense against perceived threats to status and reproduction. By sacralizing white supremacy and recycling century-old scapegoat motifs, far-right entrepreneurs present themselves as righteous defenders of a heteronormative moral order and nation endangered by liberal elites minoritized others.


Linn Tonstad: Gender Matters.

Feminist attachments are fierce and contested. Among the most widespread of feminist attachments is attachment to contestation over the terrain of the term itself, especially to emphasizing its failures. More expansive definitions of feminism seem to follow each other with dizzying rapidity, based on feminism's apparently constitutive inability to deliver what it promises. Dismantling and reconstituting feminism is arguably the most central project feminism assigns itself. The inevitable failure of the project generates new grounds for struggle, both unexpected and familiar, as different contenders for the central object of feminism's attachments succeed each other. The contours of that central object are delineated less by presence than by absence—typically, though not always, identified as a subcategory of people that feminism is failing to recognize and serve appropriately. Such failures are potentially extensible indefinitely. Is there a way for feminists to break the habit of repetition in this regard? The incentives for doing so are few, but the potential rewards are great. Accepting the inevitable failure of feminism, not as an outcome but as a starting point, might allow for more creative and generative ways of dealing with its constitutive vulnerability to critique, allowing feminists to save their energies for the fight to better the situations of the women (and others) to whom feminism understands itself as responsible. A feminist theology of failure might be a helpful aid to this task, freeing feminists from defending themselves against each other as well as defanging attacks from outside that use such failures as alibis for rejection of the project itself. 


Rita Perintfalvi: Antigenderism and neo-homophobic discourses in the horizon of right-wing populism and Christian religious fundamentalism. Warning signals from Hungary.

In an identitarian democracy, there is no place for someone who happens to be "different" or "alien." While promoting homogeneity, this right-wing ideology obliterates any heterogeneity. LGBTIQ people in the crosshairs of aggressive right-wing populist and religious fundamentalist attacks and criticism. Alarm bells are ringing in Hungary. Right-wing populist conception of gender and corresponding societal models, which have now been enshrined in Hungary's constitution, are based on and justified with religious scriptural reasoning instead of factual political arguments. When these normalized gender identities become "cultural requirements for personhood" (Butler), LGBTIQ people are marginalized from society and deprived of their human dignity. Thus, a particular notion of gender identity is asserted as the precondition for legitimate and non-defective personhood. An enlightened theology has to reject such theistic-theocratic temptations in defense of constitutional, pluralist democracy and to protect the victimized against human rights abuses, violence, and injustice.

Published Mar. 7, 2022 1:01 PM - Last modified May 18, 2022 1:47 PM