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- ItemEngage Survivors More, and Yoder Less(2016-02-29)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.
- ItemThe Politics of Poverty: A Contribution to a Franciscan Political Theology(2015)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.
- ItemNavigating Moral Struggle: Toward a Social Model of Exemplarity(2019-09)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.
- ItemPoverty(Taylor & Francis, 2020)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.
- ItemHusserl and Racism at the Level of Passive Synthesis(Taylor & Francis, 2018-10)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.