Vincent Lloyd – The Problem with Grace

We will be starting our series reading through Vincent Lloyd’s The Problem with Grace. We will meet Fridays once a month from about noon – 2pm at The Katherine Friesen Centre (940 Notre Dame Ave).

Here is the proposed schedule.

1. January 15 – Introduction (available here as a pdf.)
2. February 19 – Chapters 1-3
3. March 18 – Chapters 4-5
4. April 8 – Chapters 4-8
5. May 6 – Conclusion and Appendix

Critical Conversations in 2015 – 2016

This year we will explore a new format and work through two books in the course of the year.
We will meet Fridays once a month from about noon – 2pm at The Katherine Friesen Centre (940 Notre Dame Ave).

This year we will read through Daniel Colucciello Barber’s On Diaspora: Christianity, Religion, and Secularity as well as Vincent Lloyd’s The Problem with Grace: Reconfiguring Political Theology.

I can provide a .pdf of the opening chapters of Barber’s work for those want to begin immediately (daviddriedger-at-mymts-dot-com).

Here is the current meeting schedule

Barber – On Diaspora (see here for previous online book event)
1. October 9 – Introduction and Chapter 1
2. November 6 – Chapters 2 & 3 (meeting at 11am)
3. December 11 – Chapters 4 & 5

Lloyd – The Problem with Grace (sections to be determined)
1. January 15
2. February 19
3. March 18
4. April 8
5. May 6 (if necessary)

CC in June – Decolonizing Epistemologies

This month we will be reading ”Mujerista Discourse: A Platform for Latinas’ Subjugated Knowledge” by Ada María Isasi-Díaz. This piece comes from a collection of essays entitled Decolonizing Epistemologies which she co-edited with Eduardo Mendieta. Melanie Kampen will be facilitating.

Mujerista Discourse: A Platform for Latinas’ Subjugated Knowledge [pdf]

This will likely be the last Critical Conversation of the summer. We will meeting Tuesday, June 16th at The Goodwill Social Club (625 Portage Ave) @ 8pm.

Critical Conversation in May – Divinanimality

This month we will read a chapter of the recently released Divinanimality: Animal Theory, Creaturely Theology. This book is a collection of essays from an earlier conference of the same name. From the publisher,

A turn to the animal is underway in the humanities, most obviously in such fields as philosophy, literary studies, cultural studies, and religious studies. One important catalyst for this development has been the remarkable body of animal theory issuing from such thinkers as Jacques Derrida and Donna Haraway. What might the resulting interdisciplinary field, commonly termed animality studies, mean for theology, biblical studies, and other cognate disciplines? Is it possible to move from animal theory to creaturely theology?

We will be reading the following chapter,

Devouring the Human: Digestion of a Corporeal Soteriology,” by Erika Murphy

We will be meeting Friday May 22 @ noon (Katherine Friesen Centre; 940 Notre Dame Ave).

CC at night in March – Agrama and Abu-Lughod (Update!)

** Update ** In light of our readings and an event (see info here) that was just brought to my attention we will now be meeting at McNally Robinsons for the event at 7pm. For anyone interested we will connect after the event to go for drinks or coffee.

Our second round of Critical Conversation at Night will engage two interventions in the convoluted project of Western attempts at understanding Islam.

Hussein Ali Agrama develops the thesis that secularism “incessantly blurs together religion and politics, and that its power relies crucially upon the precariousness of the categories it establishes.”
Secularism, Sovereighty, Indeterminacy: Is Egypt a Secular or a Religious State?” [pdf]

Lila Abu-Lughod explores the limitations and perversions of Western claims to be ‘saving’, particularly, women from oppression in Afghanistan.
Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving? Anthropological Reflections on Cultural Relativism and Its Others.” [pdf]

I do not assume any sort of continuity between these two pieces only that I hope they can illuminate models of understanding not represented in dominant Western media and culture.

We will meet March 12, 7:30pm @ The Goodwill Social Club (625 Portage Ave). (See updated info above)

CC in January – Prison and Policing (Rescheduled)

This month we will read a couple of texts to help orient a conversation on the current state of prisons and policing.

We will meet Friday January 16 January 30 noon @ The Katherine Friesen Centre (940 Notre Dame Ave).

The Wedding of Workfare and Prisonfare,” Social Justice vol 38 (2011).
The Gospel or a Glock? Mennonites and the Police,” The Conrad Grebel Review vol 25 (2007).

Josiah Neufeld will help facilitate our time. His own writing and research on the topic can be found here,

Feel free to come and share insights or texts that you have found helpful as this continues to be a pressing issue.

CC in December – Cruel Optimism at Night!

This month we will be holding our first evening session of Critical Conversation. This month Melanie Dennis Unrau will be facilitating our reading of the title chapter of Lauren Berlant’s Cruel Optimism. From the the publishers,

A relation of cruel optimism exists when something you desire is actually an obstacle to your flourishing. Offering bold new ways of conceiving the present, Lauren Berlant describes the cruel optimism that has prevailed since the 1980s, as the social-democratic promise of the postwar period in the United States and Europe has retracted. People have remained attached to unachievable fantasies of the good life—with its promises of upward mobility, job security, political and social equality, and durable intimacy—despite evidence that liberal-capitalist societies can no longer be counted on to provide opportunities for individuals to make their lives “add up to something.”

Just in time for Christmas?

Cruel Optimism [pdf]

We will be meeting on Wednesday December 10, 8pm The Goodwill Social Club (625 Portage Ave).