Recent Posts

February 17th, 2017

Theologies of American exceptionalism: Marshall and Morgan

posted by Winnifred Fallers Sullivan and M. Cooper Harriss

In this second installment in the series, Winni Sullivan and M. Cooper Harriss find theology of American exceptionalism in documents that are less conventionally theological.

First, Sullivan examines the US Supreme Court decision Johnson v M’Intosh from 1823, claiming that in Chief Justice John Marshall’s opinion to the court, you can find “the fancy legal footwork at the heart of the American project, one that claims fidelity to the rule of law and to the law of nations while acting as an outlaw—an outlaw whose justification in subjugating savages is in her claim to being Christian and civilized in a new and very special way.”

Then, Harriss reflects on the theology within the concept of the “Great American Novel” through examining recent writings from C. E. Morgan, who “unabashedly” defends the canon of literature, despite its shortcomings.

Read Theologies of American exceptionalism: Marshall and Morgan

February 16th, 2017

How to do things in with words

posted by Ruth Marshall

February 14th, 2017

From Christ to Confucius

posted by Udi Greenberg

February 13th, 2017

Theologies of American exceptionalism: Winthrop and Cavell

posted by Constance M. Furey and Matthew Scherer

~ More recent posts ~


February 13, 2017

NEW SERIES | Theologies of American exceptionalism

Guest edited by Winnifred Fallers Sullivan and Elizabeth Shakman Hurd

The one-day workshop which produced these essays focused on “Theologies of American Exceptionalism,” asking participants to expound on an exemplary text. These ranged from what might usually be regarded as explicitly religious texts, such as John Winthrop’s sermon aboard the Arabella and Khomeini’s Last Testament, to judicial opinions, such as that of the US Supreme Court articulating the doctrine of conquest, literary reflections on the Great American Novel, explicitly political engagements with theology, and academic writing on capitalism, consumption, and excess.

These essays will appear in a series of five pairs over the coming weeks.

Begin by reading the introduction.


February 9, 2017

Politicizing Islam: An introduction

by Z. Fareen Parvez (former NDSP fellow)

Politicizing Islam is a comparative ethnography that analyzes the religious and political dynamics of the Islamic revival in France and India, home to the largest Muslim minorities in Western Europe and Asia. These two secular democracies make for a productive comparison on the topic of Islam and politics, despite their obvious differences. In both places, Muslims have long been racialized and suffer disproportionate rates of poverty and unemployment. Islamic revival and the reactions to it in the last two decades have struck at the core of both nations’ secular doctrines.

The arguments presented in the book draw on two years of participant observation research in Lyon and the Indian city of Hyderabad. Specifically, Parvez shows how the politics of Islamic movements differ across class, a crucial factor that existing literature has largely overlooked.

Read the article here.

Featured discussion

Mere Civility

A forum on Teresa Bejan’s new book, Mere Civility, exploring  “our contemporary crisis of civility” by examining seventeenth-century debates about religious toleration.

Featured publication

From Christ to Confucius

In this essay, Udi Greenberg reviews Albert Wu’s new book—an “interweaving of European, Asian, and religious history” that “will serve as a model for anyone interested in Christianity’s global adventure.”

Featured essay

Religion and the new populism

“The push for stronger cultural identities and political borders is inseparable from the general concern about Islam and immigration.”