Book, The World Come of Age: An Intellectual History of Liberation Theology, forthcoming Oxford UP, Summer 2018.
Synopsis: A trans-American cultural history of ideas of how in the 1960s and 70s the first generation of liberation theologians conceptualize a radical political theology. Representing those marginalized by modern politics and religion due to race, class, or sex status liberationists redefined the theo-political space and set the stage for new expressions of religious activism.
I make three interlocking arguments. First, by turning toward culture and the history of oppressed people and by deploying social theory, liberationists argued that values rooted in the idea of divine transcendence (the classic purview of theology) could be brought to bear in the political sphere. Second, by looking across national boundaries and over a long period, I highlight how the deep contradiction between freedom and oppression within the history of the Americas led to the emergence of liberation theology. Third, I argue that liberation theology marked the end of the modern attempt to maintain the perilous and unproductive myth of a separation between the secular and the religious. By challenging the sacred/secular divide of modernity, liberationists reshaped the terms of engagement and opened the floodgates for a full-throttled entry of religious claims into the political sphere. Understanding the role liberationists played in redefining the relationship between religion and politics sheds light on subsequent history.
Related interview on Historically Thinking podcast
Essay, ” ‘ Pray to God; she will hear us’ : Women Reimagine Religion and Politics in the 1970s” in the forthcoming anthology “The Religious Left in Modern America: Doorkeepers of a Radical Faith” (Palgrave Macmillan) edited by Douglas Rossinow, Leilah Danielson, and Marian Mollin.
The Long Gender Revolution in the Americas, modernity, feminism, religion, 1775-2000.
Radical Religion & Politics – anarchists, pacifists, and liberationists
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