Author: Heather Walton

This book generates a critical framework through which to interrogate the way in which religious feminists have employed women's literature in their texts. This is in order that both the way we read literature and the literature we read might be subject to scrutiny, and that new reading practices be developed. Having both the critical and constructive agenda, this is a book in two parts. The first part locates the study of the use of women's writing by religious feminists in a much wider frame than has previously been attempted. In the past individual religious feminists have been criticised, often publicly and loudly, for the use they have made of particular literary texts. Having critically surveyed previously unacknowledged constraints under which religious feminists read women's literature, the second part of the book explores how the work of women poststructuralist thinkers and theorists can enrich the reading practices. It offers alternative models for an engagement between literature and theology. Julia Kristeva is best known within the academy for her unorthodox application of Lacanian theory to contemporary culture. Her work challenges religious feminists to reassess the utilitarian approaches to literary texts and enquire into whether these might have a more powerful political role when their status as literature is recognised and affirmed. The book elucidates Luce Irigaray's thinking on sexual difference and also demonstrates its significance for feminist religious readers.

Transcendence, sacrifice, and aspiration

This innovative and timely reassessment of political theology opens new lines of critical investigation into the intersections of religion and politics in contemporary Asia. Political Theologies and Development in Asia pioneers the theo-political analysis of Asian politics and in so doing moves beyond a focus on the (Post-)Christian West that has to date dominated scholarly discussions on this theme. It also locates ‘development’ as a vital focus for critical investigations into Asian political theologies. The volume includes contributions by leading anthropologists, sociologists, and political scientists. Each chapter brings new theoretical approaches into conversation with detailed empirical case studies grounded in modern Asia. Not only does the volume illustrate the value and import of this approach to a diverse set of contemporary Asian societies and religions, but it also provides a forceful argument for why political theology itself requires this broader horizon to remain relevant and critical. The focus on ‘development’ – conceptualised broadly here as a set of modern transnational networks of ideas and practices of improvement that connect geographically disparate locations¬¬ – enables a fresh and critical analysis of the ways in which political theology is imagined, materialised, and contested both within and beyond particular nation-states. Investigating the sacred dimensions of power through concepts of transcendence, sacrifice, and victimhood, and aspiration and salvation, the chapters in this collection demonstrate how European and Asian modernities are bound together through genealogical, institutional, and theo-political entanglements, as well as a long history of global interactions.

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For the love of God
Sal Renshaw

9780719069604_4_002.qxd 09/01/2009 09:56 AM Page 56 CHAPTER 2 Feminist theology: for the love of God Speaking of divine women . . . 56 As is already well evident even here, in discourses of love the overwhelming presence of the opinions, experiences, and reflections of men is uncontestable. If history is indeed a record of ‘winners’, as feminists have by no means been alone in suggesting, this insight should come as no surprise. The historical record of love is primarily the written trace of a masculine vision of love, and Plato’s Diotima stands as an

in The subject of love
Abstract only
Heather Walton

CHAPTER 8 An open conclusion And if literature is still a girl … This book began by interrogating the relations between literature and theology as they are presented in contemporary theological thinking. I demonstrated that this interdisciplinary encounter has been constructed as a gendered relationship in which literature has functioned as the subordinated feminine term. I then argued that if ‘literature is a girl’ this no longer implies a continuing hierarchical relationship between the disciplines. Both feminist politics and poststructuralist theory have

in Literature, theology and feminism
Abstract only
Heather Walton

Introduction The purpose of this book is to generate a critical framework through which to interrogate the way in which religious feminists have employed women’s literature in their texts. This is in order that both the way we read literature and the literature we read might be subject to scrutiny, and that new reading practices be developed. This process will reveal how conventional understandings of the relation between literature and theology have been reproduced within feminist scholarship in ways that now merit critical attention. It will also expose the

in Literature, theology and feminism
Heather Walton

CHAPTER 1 If literature is a girl Terms of engagement 10 Reading in the dark Why write a book exploring the interface between women’s writing and feminist theology? A straightforward answer would be that there is scope to present a more detailed study of interdisciplinary work in this area than has previously been attempted. However, as well as offering a more comprehensive account of existing scholarship than is currently available, I also hope to provoke changes in understanding and practice. I seek to problematise what has been taken for granted and

in Literature, theology and feminism
Heather Walton

CHAPTER 3 Beyond the one and the other Katie Cannon and black womanist ethics Every-other-woman In the work of Christ and Ostriker the female voice, speaking through literature, testifies to an alternative spiritual wisdom based upon women’s experience. In the works of other religious feminists, however, women’s literature is prized because of the diversity of understandings it contains and the many tongues with which it speaks. Literature is contrasted with theology not because the one is female writing and the other male writing, but rather because theology

in Literature, theology and feminism
Heather Walton

Kristeva is arguing for a renewed appreciation of the feminine sphere, other women have conceived a more radical project. Their aim is not to deny the significance of gender but to make a reconceptualisation of sexual difference the key to changing the world. In this chapter I shall explore this alternative strategy as it is expressed in the work of Luce Irigaray. However, as the concern of this book is the relation between literature, theology and feminism so my task is not only to elucidate Irigaray’s thinking on sexual difference but also to demonstrate its

in Literature, theology and feminism
Heather Walton

CHAPTER 2 Visions and revisions Carol Christ and women on the spiritual quest Losing innocence In the previous chapter I set out to occupy a different vantage point from which to view the relation between literature and theology from those that have been favoured by feminist theologians in the past. In so doing it was my intention to locate an examination of the use of women’s writing in feminist theology in a much wider frame than usual. When surveying the various approaches to literature within the work of religious feminists it soon becomes apparent that

in Literature, theology and feminism
Heather Walton

CHAPTER 5 Julia Kristeva and journeys to the end of night Revolution in language Dialogue across borders I begin my explorations of the work of women poststructuralist writers with a new reading of Julia Kristeva. Within the academy, Kristeva is best known for bringing an unorthodox Lacanian perspective to the psychoanalytic study of cultural forms. What is less commonly recognised is that the entire trajectory of her writing career has been plotted between the twin poles of literature and theology. On occasions she has explored the sharp forces of repulsion

in Literature, theology and feminism