Friday, January 23, 2009

Workshop for Aspiring Academics

I'm going to a Subject Centre for Philosophical and Religious Studies workshop for "Aspiring Academics" in London in May (19th). It's aimed at people relatively new to teaching or planning a career in academia.

Contributors include:

Professor Jonathan Wolff
(Department of Philosophy, University College London)
Dr Joe Cain (Department of Science and
Technology Studies, University College London)
Dr Mathew
(Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University)
Dr David Mossley
(Subject Centre for Philosophical and Religious Studies) and
Dr Rebecca O’Loughlin
(Subject Centre for Philosophical and Religious Studies)
Some blurb: "This workshop offers an opportunity for aspiring academics to gather and share information and advice, and to develop the skills necessary for a successful academic career. The event will be useful both for those already teaching and researching in departments, and those hoping to start their academic careers soon. It will also provide a chance to meet fellow academics from all over the country."

Topics covered will include:

Views of the 21st century research landscape
Subject specific approaches to curriculum design
Career planning
The event, including lunch and refreshments, is provided at no charge, and runs from 11:00 to 16:00. Places are allocated on a first come first served basis and the deadline for registration is April 30th 2009; for online booking go here.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Academic Facebook

I've finally gotten around to joining - a networking site for academics that connects with Facebook. Here's my profile picture (in a pub in Amsterdam a couple of years ago). is basically a tree displaying university departments and research areas to which you can attach your profile, add specialist research interests and find others working in similar areas. One of the founder's profiles is public as an example (Richard Price). You can also upload pieces of work.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Thesis Abstract - January 2009

Here's the most recent version of my thesis abstract. It will most definitely change as I continue to write up my arguments - particularly as my arguments continue to shift as I write. The most glaring omission from this abstract concerns my findings, as I haven't quite decided what they are or how to frame them best!!! However, as it stands, this abstract is a good indication of what I intend to write about at the moment! I've also never been particularly good at writing abstracts, so hopefully the I'll get better at that too. As a result I'll keep posting versions as they emerge from my brain.

The religious landscape of the United Kingdom has undergone considerable changes in the last half-century. The death of God theology of the nineteen sixties began an exploration of the possibilities for Christianity ‘after metaphysics’ within a variety of academic disciplines. Recent contributions to the debate have included Radical Orthodoxy’s ‘catholic postmodernism,’ Weak Theology’s notion of non-dogmatic a/theistic ‘religion without Religion,’ a Lévinasian ‘religion of responsibility’ and Slavoj Žižek’s ‘atheistic Christianity.’

At the same time, the questionable evidence for the secularisation of contemporary society envisaged by many sociologists of religion and the growing indications of sacralisation now beginning to be documented throughout the West are being felt outside academia. The spectrum of possible expressions of Christian religiosity and “church” has further diversified. An increasing number of individuals and communities are engaging with the work of Nietzsche, Derrida, and Marion, among others, using these thinkers to inform their practice, and articulating their religious identity in the language of emergence. They are suggesting that something new is happening.

This thesis maps the contours of what it identifies as the UK emerging church milieu, framed by an investigation into the notion of truth. It follows participants’ understandings of truth as the concept traverses the disciplines of philosophy and theology, morphs into ethics, and encompasses politics. Its multi-methodological approach discerns the theories of truth that function within the UK emerging church milieu, placing them in conversation with classical theories.

These emerging understandings of truth are used as a springboard to explore their philosophical implications for Christianity after metaphysics, to evaluate the suitability of Radical Orthodoxy as a theological option for the milieu, and to argue for the ability of Weak Theology to act as a viable premise for ir/religious community. While two strands emerge regarding truth, suggesting philosophical and theological divergence, the thesis argues that there is convergence in practice as participants unite in a prioritisation of ethical justice over theoretical truth. The thesis forms a sustained argument for the undecidability of truth and its translation into justice as a useful means of “doing” Christianity after the death of God.