The Spirit of Populism: Political Theologies in Polarized Times
WhereSchool of Divinity, New College, Mound Place, Edinburgh EH1 2LX
When2 September 2019
About the Event
Is populism on the rise? Across the political spectrum, populism is considered a catch-all category to be critiqued: describing something as populist and dismissing something as populist go hand in hand. But theological justifications of populism, such as the identification of Christianity with Europe, resonate with mainstream political positions that are articulated and accepted in the public square.
The critique of populism parallels and points to a critique of the role of theology in politics. This critique can come either as a rejection of the politicization of theology (presupposing that genuine theology ought to be non-political) or as a rejection of the theologization of politics (presupposing that genuine politics ought to be non-theological). What runs through these critiques is the assumption that claims to theology cause the populist polarization of the public square. Is populism yet another resurrection of Carl Schmitt? Whether populism is interpreted as an authentic account of religion or as an inauthentic appropriation of religion for political ends, it needs to be carefully examined and critically explored. Does theology in politics automatically lead to populism? Does populism automatically lead to theology in politics? What indeed is the role of political theologies in polarized times?
- Elizabeth Shakman Hurd (Northwestern University)
- Brian Klug (Oxford University)
- Vincent Lloyd (Villanova University)
- Mattias Martinson (Uppsala University)
- Nadia Marzouki (Sciences Po)