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Critical Theories and Liturgical Studies


Kristine Suna-Koro
Associate Professor, Department of Theology
Xavier University
3800 Victory Parkway
Cincinnati, Ohio 45207-4442
[email protected]

Mission Statement

A small seminar of people who read and react to one another's scholarship, focusing on the intersections of liturgical studies with recent discourses such as but not limited to post-modernism, post-structuralism and critical theory.


2018 Academy Meeting Agenda

Theme: Rituals and categories of resistance and recovery

The theme for 2018 Critical Theories and Liturgical Studies meeting is “Rituals and categories of resistance and recovery.” Our common text for study and critical/constructive engagement in relation to members’ and visitors’ current research is Andrew Prevot's, Thinking Prayer: Theology and Spirituality Amid the Crises of Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2015). Our seminar agenda also includes presentations of “work in progress” as is our seminar tradition.

Friday, January 5
10:30 AM – 11:00 AM Introductions

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Focused Discussion of Andrew Prevot, Thinking Prayer: Theology and Spirituality Amid the Crises of Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2015). Session moderated by David F. Turnbloom

1:30 PM – 3:00 PM Rebecca Spurrier, Naming: Aesthetics of Healing and Claiming
Respondent Layla Karst

4:00 PM – 5:30 PM Sarah K. Johnson, Ritual Responses to Gun Violence in American Schools
Mass shootings are frequent enough in the United States that a distinct ritual repertoire has emerged in association with these events. Ritual responses to gun violence hold together two types of ritual action: (1) practices intended to provide compassionate care and stability for the community, mirroring memorials that emerge in association with accidental deaths; and (2) practices intended to challenge and destabilize the structures that allowed the event to occur, echoing actions associated with protest. This paper explores the relationship between compassionate care and political protest in the ritual responses to two mass shootings in schools, the first at Columbine High School in 1999 and the second at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. In addition to ritual theory, it may engage theory related to collective memory, cognitive approaches to culture, and school violence.

Saturday, January 6
9:30 AM – 11:00 AM Jason M. Smith, Eucharist as the Gift of Political Language
The paper is a comparison of the theologies of Louis-Marie Chauvet and John Milbank. The target of comparison might best be characterized as the different ways that both of them see the Eucharist as both an ontological and political scandal. More importantly, the target of the comparison is the way in which either of them think that the Eucharist is a political scandal *because it is an ontological scandal* and vice versa. For both Milbank and Chauvet, but in utterly divergent ways, securing the legitimacy of this relationship between the ontological and the political has everything to do with the categories of 'gift' and 'language.' I then go on to analyze both of their theological systems for the ways in which gift and language explain the ontological scandal of Eucharistic presence and link such a scandal directly to the political scandal of eucharistic ethics. What I find lacking in both of them and what I hope will be the foundation of my constructive contribution, is a tendency to denigrate or ignore entirely the apophatic tradition. Hence, my argument shall culminate in something like an apophatic political theology of the Eucharist in which I show that the gift of political language that the Eucharist is must be grounded in apophaticism--both a discipline on what human language may say about God in Godself but also a discipline on what language may say about human subjects made in the image of God.
Respondent Gerald Liu

11:00 AM – 12 PM Roundtable Discussion on Common Texts for Annual Meetings & Work in progress: Sharing of current research projects and publications

1:30 PM – 3 PM Evaluation of the seminar; Planning for NAAL 2019 in Denver