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In: Migration as a Sign of the Times
Author: Judith Gruber

Abstract

This article starts from the observation that current debates about race and racism are often couched in soteriological terms such as guilt and forgiveness, or confession and exoneration, and it argues that this overlap calls for theological analysis. Using the debate about Achille Mbembe’s disinvitation from the German art festival ‘Ruhrtriennale’ 2020 as a case that is typical of a specifically Western European discourse on race, it first sketches a brief genealogy of the modern/colonial history of religio-racialisation and its intersections with Christian tradition, in which racial categories were forged in soteriological discourses, and in which, in turn, soteriological categories were shaped by racist discourses. It proposes that in this process, Christianity, Whiteness and salvation were conflated in a way that has sponsored White supremacy, disguised as innocence. Engaging with performative race theory, the article concludes by making a constructive proposal for a performative theology of race that can account for the profound intersections between racism and soteriology, but also opens trajectories for transforming hegemonic discourses of race and their theological underpinnings.

Open Access
In: Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society
Author: Judith Gruber

Abstract

This article argues that there is a growing discrepancy between theological and critical approaches to mission: while critical mission studies have abandoned teleological frameworks for the narration of mission history, historico-theological teleologies still prove to be influential in theological conceptualizations of mission. As a result, there is a lack of theological language that can respond constructively to the interdisciplinary re-reading of mission history – mission theology is immunized from the interdisciplinary critique of mission history. Based on this diagnosis, this article asks what kind of theological approach can account for the complex entanglements of Christian knowledge production into the deadly politics of modern colonialism. Taking an interdisciplinary approach that intersects theology and postcolonial trauma studies, it investigates the narratives of decolonization that emerged around the recent renovation of the Afrika Museum in Brussels, Belgium, and develops from this analysis building blocks towards a ‘spectral theology.’

In: Mission Studies
Migrations are contested sites of identity negotiations: they are not simply a process of border crossings but more so of border shiftings. Rather than allowing migrants to swiftly move across stable borders from one clearly defined identity to another, migrations question and renegotiate these very identities. Migrations undermine and re-establish borders along which the identity of migrants (and also that of the supposedly settled population) are constituted, and, as a discourse, migrations serve as a contested site of negotiating identities. Migrations reveal the negotiable character of identities - and representations of migration are themselves a hotspot in contemporary identity constructions.

What can theology contribute to the negotiations on migration? The contributions of this volume work towards a reading of migration as a sign of the times. Together, they offer "steps towards a theology of migration." They show that migration calls for a new way of doing. A theology that is exposed to migration as a sign of the times is drwan into the shifting, unsettling, and undermining of borders. This has impact not only on the discourse of migration, but also on the discourse of theology: it calls theology to move away from its search for well-established definitions (literally: borders) of its God-talk and to venture into new, uncharted territory. It loses its fixed, clearly defined grounds and finds itself on the way toward a renegotiation of what it means to believe in, celebrate, and reflect on YHWH - on God who is with us on the way.
In: Migration as a Sign of the Times
In: Migration as a Sign of the Times