Religion and Philosophy

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This collection includes scholarly output from both faculty and students in Religion and Philosophy.


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Now showing 1 - 11 of 11
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    Engage Survivors More, and Yoder Less
    (2016-02-29) Lambelet, Kyle Brent Thompson; Hamilton, Brian David
    Over the course of his acclaimed career, Christian theologian and ethicist John Howard Yoder (1927-97) stalked, harassed and sexually assaulted more than a hundred women. This has been an open secret among academics for decades -- whispered in conference hallways and traded as gossip among graduate students, but almost never addressed in public.
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    The Politics of Poverty: A Contribution to a Franciscan Political Theology
    (2015) Hamilton, Brian David
    This essay reconstructs the medieval practice of evangelical poverty as a resource for contemporary political theology. Francis of Assisi and his predecessors committed themselves to a form of voluntary poverty that directly contested the distribution of social power in twelfth-century Europe. Evangelical poverty was for them a critical and liberating practice. Yet they disagreed about how this practice was related to standing norms of ecclesial authority. Francis broke with the earlier movements by defining evangelical poverty as a posture of humility and obedience rather than as a counterclaim on apostolic authority. These movements are worth retrieving both for their shared commitment to a liberating poverty and for the questions they raise about the relationship between poverty and authority.
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    Navigating Moral Struggle: Toward a Social Model of Exemplarity
    (2019-09) Hamilton, Brian David
    Exemplars have the power to help people navigate various levels of moral struggle, from the relatively straightforward problem of lacking motivation to the much deeper problem of failing to see the moral realities that surround us. But there are also serious moral risks in the appeal to exemplars: we romanticize them, we make use of them in authoritarian ways, and we tend to forget how our choice of exemplars is conditioned by oppressive cultural formations. I argue that we need to develop a social model of exemplarity, attuned to social contexts of our exemplars themselves as well as the social processes of constructing and appealing to exemplars. More particularly, I argue that we need to develop space for thinking about exemplary groups, not just exemplary individuals, in order to develop the strengths and avoid the weaknesses in exemplarist moral theories.
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    (Taylor & Francis, 2020) Hamilton, Brian David
    The truly surprising about the Christian understanding of poverty, the thing that sets it apart even from other religious perspectives and certainly from modern economics, is that poverty is seen as somehow good. The whole history of Christian reflection on poverty has been animated by the attempt to make sense of the apparently incompatible affirmations. The division of society into rich and poor, strong and weak, comes not from Rome but from the ancient Near East. Christian preachers began to present the poor as privileged citizens in the kingdom of heaven, thus inventing a social class and integrating them into the main social body in one fell swoop. The most decisive theological influence on early modern political economy came from the British natural theologians of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, who celebrated the proliferation of discoveries in the natural sciences as testimony to the power and glory of the Creator.
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    Husserl and Racism at the Level of Passive Synthesis
    (Taylor & Francis, 2018-10) Nethery, Harry A.
    A number of philosophers within critical race theory use phenomenology to describe the way in which their identities are always already constituted as delinquent within the consciousness of white people (prior to any active reflection), and how their own identity fractures in relation to this white gaze – a fracturing that creates unspeakable ontological, and ultimately physical violence. Though these philosophers are already doing phenomenology in their work, there is a deeper level of analysis that has yet to be given. Specifically, an account has not yet been provided as regards the production of the white gaze within the consciousness of white people. That is, how is an already racialized world of experience produced priorto any active reflection? In this essay, I engage George Yancy’s famous elevator example, using Edmund Husserl’s concepts of apperception, internal time consciousness and passive synthesis to give a phenomenological description of the production of a pre-reflective racialized world.
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    Microaggressions as Violence
    (Practical Matters, 2020-07-28) Hamilton, Brian David
    The most common critique levelled against the concept of microaggressions is that it involves a dangerous exaggeration, treating simple mistakes or miscommunications as acts of violence. I argue in this essay that microaggressions should be defined as patterns of interaction that perpetuate a certain kind of structural violence (namely, oppression), and as such are rightly considered a form of violence in themselves. I suggest, too, that microaggressions are a form of violence for which we stand responsible, despite the fact that they are often committed unintentionally. I first offer a brief history of the concept of microaggressions and a response to two of its most famous critics, then I work to redefine microaggressions within the context of a theory of structural violence and a theology of structural sin.
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    Good Intentions Can’t Redeem Voluntary Ignorance
    (Sojourners, 2020-07-01) Hamilton, Brian David
    One of the most terrifying features of the COVID-19 pandemic has been that we cannot see it coming. That’s true of almost all diseases, of course, but it’s been made worse in this case by the warnings that people become highly contagious two days before they show any symptoms, and might be contagious even if they never show symptoms at all. Anyone could be a carrier. Everyone is a potential threat.
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    What We Miss When We Say ‘Accountability, not Justice'
    (Sojourners, 2021-05-10) Hamilton, Brian David
    In the wake of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s conviction a couple of weeks ago, my social media lit up with a new progressive talking point: The verdict was “accountability, not justice.” The refrain, which quickly became a meme, crystallized into a new orthodoxy by the time the sun went down. Within days, I had heard it from countless pundits, from members of Congress, from the American Civil Liberties Union.
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    Enemies of the Poor
    (Cardus, 2022-03-10) Hamilton, Brian David
    Many of the ancients harboured a worry, now suppressed or forgotten, that the things we possess and the way we possess them might determine the sort of people we become. They thought ethics followed economics.
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    It’s in You: Structural Sin and Personal Responsibility Revisited
    (Sage, 2021-08) Hamilton, Brian David
    The language of structural sin is most often used to describe sin that inheres in laws, institutions, or social roles—in short, in the objective social architecture of our everyday lives. This article argues that structural sin should also be understood as including a subjective dimension, describing the determinate habits or dispositions instilled by sharing in the life of a particular society. Part of what is structured by structural sin, in other words, is agency itself. The reason that many theologians have resisted this idea is that it seems to undermine the conditions of moral responsibility. If our capacities for knowing and loving the good are always already concretely misshapen, can we rightly be held accountable for what we do? This article argues further that we can, drawing on the work of Judith Butler to sketch a fresh account of personal responsibility in the face of structural sin.
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    Zardoz and the Problem of Infinity: Levinas and Heidegger Beyond Love and Death
    (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2011) Dalton, Drew
    This exciting new anthology brings together many diverse views on blockbuster and cult science fiction films of the 1970s. These essays, which range in focus from Alien to Zardoz, explore some of the most fundamental questions about the meaning of being human. The chapters of the first section challenge our notions of heroism, confronting our ideas with issues of history, gender and embodiment. The second section's contributions delve into the human caused monstrosities of our own ingenuity and curiosity whereby our technology transforms the human into a source of horror. The anthology's final section is a chorus that speaks to the cinematic depictions that disrupt our religious and moral assumptions. The international group of contributors have produced a surprising, entertaining and enlightening work that will appeal to both science fiction and film enthusiasts the world over.