This workshop aims to establish a dialogue between the critical turn in religious and secular studies and debates around the rise of the radical populist right in the Americas. It explores comparatively new populist theopolitical formations in their relation to:
a) sovereignty and soil,
b) charisma and theatricality;
c) neoliberalism and secular-religious assemblages.
Whereas the correlation between the continent’s recent turn to the extreme right side of the political spectrum and changes in the religious field (growth of evangelical and Catholic charismatic Christianity) has been widely noticed, the nature of such cross- fertilization remains insufficiently theorized. Our purpose is to explore this theme through comparative inquiry on the shifting structures of religious and political authority in the region, including their theo-political entanglements. We assume that the concept of theopolitics (political theology “from below”) can be a valuable resource to grasp why and how political authority is being newly infused with a theological dimension at a moment in which the liberal democratic social pact is going through a widespread legitimacy crisis. From a geopolitical inception of the Americas and an intra- disciplinary standpoint, we also argue that theopolitics allows for a better understanding of ongoing transformations of theological discourses and practices in the light of an incarnated politics.
This workshop is organized by Maria José de Abreu (Columbia University), Valentina Napolitano (University of Toronto), and Bruno Reinhardt (Federal University of Santa Catarina) in partnership with the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life at Columbia University.
It is cosponsored by the Critical Catholic Initiative at the University of Toronto.