Thursday, 11 February 2016

Theology for liberation in the UK - call for papers

Modern Believing Call for Papers - Circulate Widely!

Theology for Liberation in the UK

You are invited to submit a paper for review and publication that explores the interaction of radical politics and Christian faith that takes seriously its British context and looks for actual concrete change for neighbourhoods.

Nothing vague or aspirational: Demonstrably Practical Theology, rooted in neighbourhoods or marginal communities.

Papers need to demonstrate an understanding of a particular context, show that analysis has taken place with (rather than over or for) people and that the analysis of lived experience is deeply reflected on with academically rigorous theology that’s presented in an accessible way.

Themes may include but are not exclusive to:

- The interaction of religions in ways that change society

- Anarchy as observed and interacted with by people of faith

- Queer theology and its role in social transformation

- Disability and challenging the changes to the social contract

- Direct Action and theological reflection

Due Date for Proposals: 1st March 2016

Due date for submission of paper and abstract: 1st July 2016


Revd Dr Keith Hebden, Guest Editor for Modern Believing

Mail for more details and to submit a proposal.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Anarchist Studies Network Conference, 14-16 September 2016 Loughborough

Loughborough University, U.K. – 14-16 September 2016
Central theme: Anarcha-feminism
Call for Papers and Sessions
The global resistance faces turbulent times, as the balance of hope teeters between inspiring mobilisation and reactionary retrenchment. In Rojava, Kurdish communities are implementing libertarian socialism and feminist leadership on a scale unseen since the Spanish civil war, while world powers bomb the democratic Syrian opposition alongside ISIS. The mobilisation of African Americans against police brutality goes beyond liberal platitudes to highlight systemic racism, while competitors for the Republican candidacy outdo one another in barefaced bigotry and misogyny. And while anarchists were encouraged by the resurgence of popular protest in the wake of the global financial crisis, much of that energy has been absorbed by electoral initiatives from Greece and Spain to the UK and US, vindicating longstanding concerns about the co-optation of movements who expect too much of the state. In these uncertain days, the elaboration of anarchist analysis which bridges theory and practice and speaks to the needs of social movements assumes increasing importance.
The 4th International Conference of the Anarchist Studies Network will be held at Loughborough University between 14-16 September 2016. Proposals are welcome for individual papers, panels, and streams of several panels. We especially encourage panel proposals, to include 3-4 presentations drawn together around a common theme, although individual paper proposals are of course also welcome.
Contributions from both within and outside the official academic sphere are invited from any scholarly discipline(s), on any topic relevant to the study of anarchism.
The central theme for the conference is anarcha-feminism. The purposes are twofold: to stimulate discussion of a form of oppression that anarchists oppose but which continues to be felt in anarchist organising; and to welcome individuals, groups and communities who have not previously participated in ASN events. By recognising the legacy of anarcha-feminists/anarchist feminism and women's activism in anarchism we want to strengthen the ties between contemporary anarchists and feminists in the struggle against oppression and use the recognition of misogynist practices and hierarchical gender structures to open up the event to other marginalised peoples. We therefore particularly encourage submissions from women, trans and non-binary people, queer activists, collectives, people of colour, people with disabilities and we strongly encourage panel and panel stream organizers to overcome exclusion. We are also especially interested in presentations that are concerned with anarchism and one/more of the following:
· Anarcha-feminist and queer theory
· Anarcha-feminist critiques of the state
· Anarcha-feminist histories
· Ecofeminism, individualist anarcha-feminism, anarcho-primitivist feminism, posthuman, cyborg and sci-fi anarcho-feminism
· Feminist critiques of anarchism and anarchist engagement with feminism
· Intersections between gender, sexuality, race, class, abilities and anarchism
· Local anarcho-feminist struggles / experiences
· Love, sex, relationships (or resistance to)
· Masculine and feminine representations and the movement between them
· Sex work and reproductive rights
· The role of women and non-binary people in the struggle against capitalism
In addition, we welcome contributions on any other topic relevant to the study of anarchism, with or without connection to anarcha-feminism.
ASN conferences aim to breach new frontiers in anarchist scholarship, and encourage cross-pollination between disciplines. As well as submissions that bridge the gap between ‘academic’ and other forms of knowledge, we also welcome proposals for workshops, art events/performances and experimental pieces and are happy to discuss ideas that you might have.
Please send abstracts of up to 250 words per paper (multiply for panel/stream proposals) to ASN Co-convenor Uri Gordon at by 14 March 2016

- Specifically, our readers are cordially invited to come up with ideas for a special spiritual/religious anarchism section, not necessarily connected to the main theme.
You may send your ideas to christianarchy at yahoo dot co dot uk

Friday, 4 September 2015

Critical time for Religious Studies, Stirling

Administrators are trying to shut down the entire Religious Studies department at Stirling University. 

This is significant for a number of reasons.

First, the religious studies department at Stirling is of particular import due to its emphasis on Critical Religion theories. In fact, Timothy Fitzgerald, one of the professors affected, is a prominent voice in that field. Critical Religion theories are important because they challenge the very colonialist basis upon which the study of "religion" is based.

The second reason is related to the first: Precisely because Critical Religion studies are a vitally needed, the shutting down of the entire department is an act of censorship that would damage not only the entire field of religious studies but also broader struggles against white supremacy and colonial domination. 

Third, this is significant because this type of sudden and arbitrary laying off of workers despite high student attendance— is exactly the type of business practice that we are all affected by and need to stick together to fight it. Despite a balanced budget and a healthy number of students, the administration offered four professors redundancy packages and plans to lay off the rest of the instructors. This type of brutal cutthroat practices cannot be accepted. 

What to do?

You can sign (and spread!) the petition:
(Already 1,000 signatures in a few days!)

Read more about Critical Religion studies at Stirling:
Further reading:

Monday, 17 August 2015

Conference on Dorothy Day

A conference that will examine both the person and the teachings of Catholic Worker co-founder Dorothy Day will be held at the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, TX, at the end of October

Monday, 9 March 2015

Monday, 6 October 2014

IS and The Kurdish Revolution: Ideas on the Ground!

While IS continue to gain ground in the Middle East it is vital that we all get our heads around who the Kurds are, where they came from, and what they aspire to. Humanity's future is tied up in theirs and they map possibilities we can learn from. 
Political maps have a horrid habit of dividing people for the sake of governing over them. Or as a flat-mate of mine used to say "Borders are imaginary lines separating one group of people's imaginary rights from those of another". 
The Kurdish ethnic communities, Indo-European in descent and speaking various languages; Iranian, by and large but represented in bordering Iraq, Syria and Turkey are a classic example of the top-down statist nastiness that is 'border control'. And by 'border control' I mean the control of peoples using borders. 

A Brief Dystory* of the Kurdish People
As an ethnic group the Kurdish people are a huge melting pot, forming as a people in a place that is such an important geographical axis in world history. It makes them rich in legend, culture, language and diversity. but also disparate and subject to oppression by their many neighbours and - not having a state to represent them - ignored, by and large, by world powers. 

Kurdistan, as an entity, came into its own in the medieval period as a series of related but autonomous emirates organised under a shah. In the sixteenth century the Ottoman empire put and end to this with their occupation and centralisation of power, leading to the first organised Kurdish resistance and fight for self-rule, leading to a fully-formed Kurdish nationalism after World War 1 as the western powers carved up the map for their own greedy gain. So a conspiracy of Turkish, Iraqi, British and other European agencies have all but put an end to Kurdish hopes of a nation state to call home - free from persecution; safe from within their borders: their own 'Holy Land' as it were. 

Iraq and the KRG
There is, today (since 2006) a Kurdish regional government in Iraq (KRG) with its own Prime Minister, flag, and so on. But the majority of Kurds are resident of Turkey. 

Syria and the YPG
The "People's Protection Units" (YPG) are a stateless militia operating in Syria to protect Syrian Kurds from attack with the city of Kobane (a.k.a Ayn al-Arab) in norther Syria being a particular flashpoint and strategic area in the concept of a Kurdish Syria. 

Turkey and the PKK
The "Kurdish Workers Party" (PKK) founded way back in 1978, is another armed struggle of resistance against state repression of Kurds: this time in Turkey. The PKK was founded by Abdullah Öcalan "Apo" and is, according to NATO, a terrorist organisation. However, since the PKK are not known to attack unarmed civilians and are busy resisting IS, international politicos may change their mind on this. 

Apo was a Leninist organisation at first but has abandoned this agenda for a fluid and contextual form of anarchism, influenced greatly by Mikhail Bakunin and by Murray Bookchin: "Democratic Confederalism". 

Today, amidst the chaos of the middle east conflict, aided and abetted by a confused and avaricious Saudi-Western oil pact, the PKK are on the move and on the grow, These are, of course, precarious and unstable times. 

Roarmag puts it like this: "The Kurdish struggle, however, is anything but narrowly nationalistic. In the mountains above Erbil, in the ancient heartland of Kurdistan winding across the borders of Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria, a social revolution has been born." 

The PKK have taken to this Democratic Confederalism and their ecologically-minded and feminist egalitarianism is capturing the imaginations of Kurdish people in Turkey. 

Like any organisation there is a shadowy side and many unanswered questions. The PKK is committed to violence as a means to a just end and inevitably this leads to internal contradictions between liberty and authoritarianism. 

But what they demonstrate - and this is the exciting bit - is that people can have and do want stateless autonomy. We saw it in Spain in the 1930s and in Korea in the early 20th Century. In both cases it wasn't the unworkability of anarchism that destroyed it but the insatiability of the state from without, imposing its "protection" on otherwise self-organising people. 

You won't read much about the PKK, or the YPG in the mainstream press - the revolution will be relativised rather than televised - but keep your radical ear to the ground because change and resistance doesn't mean rockets from drones or 'boots on the ground' it means power from the people building a new world in the shell of the old

HT: @RevdRay and @AnotherGreen

*Dystory - A History of how it all went wrong!