Online Course Details
Meeting ID 869 9773 8494 | Passcode786777
Liberation theology is a diverse theological movement that speaks powerfully, prophetically, critically, and often controversially against oppression.
This course continues on from Theologies of Liberation, introducing students to further foundational texts within the tradition of liberation theology. In particular, it looks at movements that are relatively less widely known about, but no less crucial in their insight.
This course will be most accessible to students who have previously participated in the course, Theologies of Liberation. However, you are welcome to jump on here too!
Juan Carlos Scannone - The Theology of the People
The Theology of the People is a version of Liberation Theology from Argentina, which draws from nationalist and postcolonial thought to provide an alternative to Marxist liberation theology. This movement was controversial for its relatively lesser focus on class struggle in favour of ‘cultural’ analysis and its ties to nationalist populism. Nevertheless, it was greatly influential particularly in the context of the controversies around Marxist liberation theology, and informs Pope Francis’ social teaching.
Lee Griffith – Abolition Theology
After Black Lives Matter, popular consciousness of racism has never been higher. In the wake of the death of George Floyd, which galvanised the movement, a major component of this is an awareness of the way violence is structurally embedded within the police and justice system. Writing in the 1990s, Lee Griffith draws from Black and liberation theology to argue that the Christian obligation to liberate the imprisoned means prison abolition.
Nancy Eiesland - Disability Theology
Christian theology has long engaged with Disability, primarily by seeing it as a sign of sin, and/or something to be ‘healed’. Correspondingly, both the Church and society have systematically pathologized, disempowered and excluded Disabled people. Nancy Eiesland fuses liberation theology with Disability theory to argue that the problems Disabled people face are a product of a society that refuses to accommodate their bodies, and that Disability is therefore not a sickness to be cured, but a locus of oppression from which people must be liberated. In this context, she asks the question: what would it mean to see God as Disabled?
Lisa Isherwood – Fat Theology
Like Disability, Fatness is widely pathologized. Fat bodies are degraded and devalued in our society, and fat people are subject to discrimination in all walks of life. Lisa Isherwood, a feminist theologian who well known for her work in body theology, uses liberation theology to interrogate these issues, beginning with the task of imagining the fat Jesus, and what this means for the Church and its response to fatphobia.
Vanessa Sheridan – Transgender Liberation Theology
The 1990s and2000s saw the rise of ‘trans studies’; an academic field that reflected seriously on the nature and social questions raised by transness. Early trans theorists rejected prior understandings of transness that reduced it to a medical phenomenon, thus subjecting trans people to the coercive power of the gender clinic, or which rooted it in isolating, individualised subjective experiences of dysphoria which emerged out of medical discourse. Drawing on amore radical tradition of trans liberation, these theorists understood transness in terms of a shared struggle against gender oppression that encompassed a broad sweep of gender non-conforming people. Vanessa Sheridan fuses this radical project with liberation theology, asking: what does the gospel have to say to trans people as a group in need of liberation?
Reading - Theology Popular Culture Discernment
Reading - The Fall of the Prison
Reading - The Disabled God
Dr Nicolete Burbach is the Social and Environmental Justice Lead at the London Jesuit Centre. Her PhD thesis looked at Pope Francis’ hermeneutics of uncertainty, and her research focuses on resourcing Pope Francis to think through issues of alienation and disagreement, with a particular focus on navigating the difficulties around trans inclusion in the Church. Previously, she has taught modules on postmodern theology and Catholic Social Teaching, both at Durham University.