Call for Papers: Queer Political Theologies Special Issue of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies

Edited by Ricky Varghese (Toronto Institute of Psychoanalysis), David K. Seitz (Harvey Mudd

College), and Fan Wu (University of Toronto)

The contested field of political theology asks after the seemingly persistent theological, religious, and metaphysical character of people’s affective investments in political institutions and forms of life, including putatively secular ones. Political theology attends to what remains, what lingers— perhaps transfigured or rescaled—at scenes of crisis, catastrophe, and change, in moments when forms of life undergo profound structural and spiritual transformation. This special issue emerges from our observation that political theology, queer theory, religious studies, and queer theology already share in a critical hesitation about the pretensions of the modern subject as secular, sovereign, disillusioned, and bereft of metaphysical attachments; and in a curiosity about the psychic, visceral, ontological, and affective character of subject formation. Our aim, then, is not merely to “queer” political theology—to make a set of queerly informed postulates out of theology—but also to ask what is already queer about the intersections and junctures of the political and the theological.

We invite work that shares our curiosity about how the queer as an ontological, ethico-political, historical, and materialist category worthy of exploration might in itself emerge from the meeting of the political and the theological. We welcome scholarship that approaches the political and the theological themselves as categories that are deeply invested in configurations of modernity, subjectivity, and ontology—work that asks after the queerness that inheres or festers in the relationships between modernity, subjectivity, and ontology, broadly conceived. Queer political theologies might investigate scenes of jointure and investiture between otherwise inchoate, abject, quivering, creaturely, or fleshy bodies and sacralising political orders or religious praxes that imbue them with significance.

We approach this work with a keen awareness of the fraught stakes of gathering together scholarship from multiple fields and trajectories (queer theory, political theology, queer theology, religious studies, and more) under the banner of “queer political theology” in particular. Indeed, distinct scholarly traditions, not all of them historically friendly to emancipatory ethical, political, and intellectual aims, have infected “political theology” quite differently. While European(ist) political theologies have focused on the psychical and spiritual consequences of the shift from monarchical sovereignty to biopolitical forms of popular sovereignty, Asian, Arab, Latinx, African, and other political theological traditions have sought to map out reconfigurations of sacred/profane bodies politic amidst and from scenes of empire, colonialisms, decolonization, and postcolonial nationalisms. What we hope the contributions to this special issue will share, then, is not a singular political theological tradition, nor an exclusive set of geographical coordinates, nor a unitary understanding of the queer, but a sustained attention to the spiritual, psychical, religious, political, and ontological torsion at the core of processes of subject formation.

Possible topics might include:

  •   Religious praxis, ritual, and the sacred in sexual cultures
  •   Queer bare life, queer creaturely life, queer flesh, queer sacrifice
  •   The melancholic place of political theology in queer theory, queer theology and religious studies
  •   The queer temporalities and spatialities of political theology
  •   Queer secularisms
  •   Queer theory and forms of theism and atheism
  •   Queer theology’s responses to ecology and the Anthropocene
  •   The end(s) of history and queer readings of eschatology
  •   Queer poetics of theological texts and religious traditions

    We are looking for abstracts (no longer than 500 words) for contributions to be considered for inclusion in this issue. Please also include a one-page CV. Please send any inquiries and submissions to glqqpt@gmail.com by Friday, February 1, 2019.

    GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies is a Duke University Press publication http://www.dukeupress.edu/glq

Author: Anna F. Bialek

Anna Bialek is an Assistant Professor of Religion and Politics at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University.

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