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 Love: A Conversation G AYAT R I C H A K R AV O R T Y S P I VA K , W I T H S E R E N E J O N E S , C AT H E R I N E K E L L E R , K W O K P U I - L A N , A N D S T E P H E N D . M O O R E Catherine Keller: I had mentioned to Professor Spivak that I would rap just a little bit, warming up to a question, while she is settling into our sanctified environment here in the Theological School. We are very grateful for your courage in joining us today. But really, the courage is all ours. [Laughter.] In the Critique of Postcolonial Reason, thinking especially of Bangladesh, you write words that seem to us all the more prophetic now, in the light (the warm light) of global warming. You write that you ‘‘have no doubt that we must learn to learn from the original practical ecological philosophies of the world.’’1 Insisting that this is no more a romanticism than was liberation theology, you say, ‘‘[W]e are talking about using the strongest mobilizing discourse in the world in a certain way for the globe,’’ this globe that you would later prefer to call ‘‘planet.’’ You say that ‘‘this learning can only be attempted through the supplementation of collective effort by love.’’2 And so we are having this event in which, already, this line has become almost scriptural before your advent here this afternoon! We realize that this conversation, in a theological school, with theologians , biblical scholars, other scholars of religion, may not be part of your normal circuit (if you have one). But many of us do work in schools that actually trained the original missionaries for the triumphalist global Christendom. We have been working, really working rather assiduously for several decades now, to untrain ourselves of the missionary habit; to unlearn for ourselves (and ‘‘ourselves’’ now is partly constituted by the Christian postcolonial) the conversionist presumption. And yet, of course, PAGE 55 ................. 17764$ $CH4 10-28-10 12:06:56 PS 56 兩 g a ya t r i c h a kr a v or t y sp i v ak part of the learning of this unlearning is the continuous discovery of ever new depths of our complicities with the deep history of Christian imperialism. Ellen Armour’s talk earlier this morning was unfolding for us, for instance, the incredible wrinkles of sexual politics in the Episcopalian church, vis-à-vis the African church.3 The tangles of our complicities continue to stun us and keep us lively. I found that your concept, actually, of complicity itself as a folding together is a beautiful metaphor and an alternative to a certain oppositionalism that is still very much a part of our own unfolding in communities like this—an oppositionalism that provides much of the energy, still, of our critiques of our own traditions. Vigilance as to complicity seems to me to signal a kind of love strategy that for many of us may indeed offer a needed supplement to the identity politics by which we have tried—and continue to try—to free ourselves from the Eurocentric forms of the socalled religion that engulfed ancient Jewish impulses. Among us the very notion of religion is being contested by scholars of religion, indeed, by a theologian such as John Thatamanil, who is with us here today. The concept ‘‘religion’’ may represent a false homogenization accomplished by imperial organization of vastly complex spiritual movements. Yet we teach in theological schools because we do not or we cannot dismiss these so-called great world religions. For they are ‘‘too deeply imbricated,’’ as you say mercilessly, ‘‘in the narrative of the ebb and flow of power.’’4 We hope we are practicing within these religions what you have called a ‘‘decolonization of the mind’’ by renegotiating root religious structures of violence. We do also find traces within these religions of ours of an underived alterity manifested only in solidarity with the subaltern , the ‘‘least of these’’ of the Jewish Jesus of Matthew 25:40. This is a trace, this old love, among traces almost but not quite erased by the blinding paternal hierarchies of Christian triumphalism. And so we keep negotiating. In perhaps your very sense of ‘‘negotiation’’ as the responsible form of resistance amid our privileged...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780823248780
Related ISBN
9780823233250
MARC Record
OCLC
708566770
Pages
480
Launched on MUSE
2012-07-18
Language
English
Open Access
No
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