Recent Posts

February 22nd, 2017

Theologies of American exceptionalism: Moreton and Paarlberg

posted by Elizabeth Shakman Hurd and Lisa H. Sideris

“For its proponents, Americans and perhaps others, Christian free enterprise is not a religion but a natural way of being, religiously, economically, and socially, when all obstacles to freedom have been transcended. Its unstable and ambivalent naturalization and nationalization of Protestantism—the free market religion and religion of the free market—helps to secure the American exception, necessitating, for some, a tireless and violent drive to remake the world in our image.”

The above is an excerpt from Elizabeth Shakman Hurd’s essay, “The America-Game,” which uses Bethany Moreton’s To Serve God and Wal-Mart to examine the relationships between American Protestantism and its global economics. Lisa Sideris, in her companion essay “Exceptionalism, environmentalism, and excess,” looks at a similar relationship with American excess and the effects on climate. She looks at whether “narratives of exceptionalism actually abet the destruction of nature?”

Read Theologies of American exceptionalism: Moreton and Paarlberg

February 17th, 2017

Theologies of American exceptionalism: Marshall and Morgan

posted by Winnifred Fallers Sullivan and M. Cooper Harriss

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

~ 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.”