Theology and Contemporary Critical Theories
Graham Ward, Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford, once remarked, "theology's business has always been the transgression of boundaries. It is a discourse which requires other discourses for its very possibility." In this light, theological study is inherently interdisciplinary. Also, theologians are increasingly getting involved in praxis, which calls for them to have the expertise to critically examine the social, cultural, and political dimensions of everyday life. This course addresses these two aspects of theological study and focuses on the various ways theology can engage with contemporary critical theories in order to theologically analyze a society along the three media of speech, money, and power, as described by Jürgen Habermas. The course selectively covers the following contemporary critical theories and topics: the Frankfurt School and Dialectical Thinking in the Marxist traditions; Michel Foucault's Theories of Power, Knowledge, Truth, Subjectivity, and Ethics; Postcolonialism and Decoloniality; Critical Theories of Everyday Resistance; Critical Historiography; Critical Theory; Feminism and Queer Theory. In addition to a survey of the various approaches to critical theories, selected prominent critical theorists from each approach will be discussed. The theological implications of these theories will be examined through the lens of selected social issues and phenomena. Students will be required to conduct a theologically critical analysis of selected issues in their home society by adopting one of the critical perspectives. This course weaves together analytical approaches from the two disciplines to provide a theologically critical understanding of contemporary social issues.