About the Seminar

by d. w. horstkoetter

We are graduate students and current faculty in the Theology Department at Marquette University interested in theologies that intersect with contemporary political, social, economic, and cultural life.

We are conducting this seminar to deepen our projects, broaden our interests, and provide a public, scholarly forum in the theology department where people of similar interests can exchange ideas. Therefore the title, “Political Theologies,” invokes a broad frame of reference and does not limit further discussions to the school of thought known as “Political Theology.” Nonetheless we share with it a meaning of “Political” more common in Europe than in the US, and that includes economic and cultural dimensions of contemporary societies.

We also look outside the theology faculty for involvement from various, expert voices theological and not explicitly theological. Political theology is inherently interdisciplinary, and thus we see ourselves oriented toward engagement with other disciplines while retaining our theological core of exploring the implications of Christian life for what it means to be human and live together.

We are diverse but seek to cross the lines of denominations, churches, and movements in order to learn theological perspectives that have emerged and that are developing in each tradition, yet without necessarily focusing on a search for unity. Some notable sources and discussions we find helpful or worth engaging:

1. Documents by traditions, like Lumen Gentium, Gaudium et Spes, and Dignitatis Humanae from Vatican II.

2. Major thinkers in the field, like John Courtney Murray, Stanley Hauerwas, John Howard Yoder, D. Stephen Long, William Cavanaugh, Rowan Williams, John Milbank, Sally McFague, Kathryn Tanner, Johannes Baptist Metz, James Cone, Gary Dorrien, Reinhold Niebuhr, Gustavo Gutiérrez, Jon Sobrino, Ignacio Ellacuría, Dolores Williams, Dorothy Sölle, Elizabeth Johnson, M. Shawn Copeland, Duncan Forrester, John Atherton, Elaine Graham, Graham Ward, George Newlands, John de Gruchy, Peter Scott, Oliver O’Donovan, Gregory Baum, and more.

3. Bibliography on select topics, for instance: ecofeminism and ecotheology, public theology, theological critiques of American exceptionalism, the turn from medieval to modern, and more.

As of now we are focused on sponsoring very specific contributions to intellectual life at Marquette and beyond: events at Marquette like book symposiums, forums, and presentations, and the seminar’s own website to house resources like bibliographies and network with those of similar interests outside of Marquette.