The year is not yet over, but we can add new notable posts that are written after this date. The past year was not as exciting as 2012, when (to speak only of the biggest highlight) Brandy dropped a series of bombs on the theology blogging world after AAR. (Brandy has since moved on to the greener pastures of Women in Theology, where she’s continued to produce ground-breaking work that deeply challenges the theological academy.)
There were some highlights, however. We did three book discussions, over Josh Ramey’s The Hermetic Deleuze, Roberto Esposito’s Living Thought, and John Williams’ Stoner (though I failed to update the Book Event page to reflect this…). Josh participated more heavily than any previous author in his book event, and while he focused most of his blogging efforts on Absolute Economics, he also wrote two major posts for us: Inhuman Already? Zombies, Vampires, and the Accelerationist Moment and From Fraud to Play: Or, At Least What Full Communism Cannot Mean.
Stephen Keating joined us this spring, starting off with a bang as his post The Neoliberal Church ruffled many emerging feathers. This year also marked an uptick in participation by Beatrice Marovich and Steven Shakespeare. Steven’s posts covered radical theology, the smugness of many white male theologians (a favorite topic here), and academic labor politics. Beatrice’s contributions frequently used news events, blog posts, and magazine articles as a jumping-off point for unique reflections, including one on Barbie as martyr and another on the disturbing malleability of Christianity. Bruce Rosenstock shared a couple of pieces with us as well, on snakes and vialism. During the year, we also enjoyed a single post by Basit Iqbal — hopefully he will return to us at some point.
As for more perennial regulars, Brad seemed to concentrate mostly on his own blog (cross-posting a couple pieces here), though he provided us with valuable insights into the worst book review ever written. Dan Barber participated in two of the book events, and other highlights included a post on Cone on Malcolm X and on what Dionne Warwick can tell us about theology. Christopher Rodkey seemingly stopped posting his sermons after Lent this year, but shared several announcements as well as some reflections on this year’s Subverting the Norm conference. Jeremy Ridenour abruptly disappeared upon starting a postdoc in the fall, but before that he had shared his thoughts on awkwardness and his criticism of what passes for “radical theology” these days, among other things. Voyou dropped in for only a couple posts, relating communism to Spring Breakers and Britney Spears.
That leaves the two most compulsive contributors: me and Anthony. Anthony continued his inquiry into why theologians bother with philosophers if they’re just going to misread them, defended Caputo from some hurtful and unnecessary remarks by Graham Harman, reflected on creating safe spaces in the classroom, pondered the branding efforts surrounding “radical theology,” and provided insights into the meaning of Pope Francis — along with announcing seemingly hundreds of speaking engagements.
As for me, while I don’t have the numbers to back this up, I would guess that this year marked a low point in my blogging output. A number of factors contributed to this, but overall I am just becoming more busy and am more concerned to devote my energy to my formal writing than to blogging (though it’s probably not a trade-off). It’s probably also the case that my hyper-active Twitter output — including this world-famous viral tweet — cut into my blogging, as I used up ideas in Twitter rants that would have been better developed as posts. Nevertheless, a small amount of blogging for me is a huge amount for many, so here are a few that captured people’s attention:
- My radical pedagogical program was the biggest traffic draw of the year.
- From the generalized resource curse to communism got some exposure in the mainstream finance/econ blogosphere.
- ‘Privilege’ and the rhetoric of austerity was my hopefully not entirely misguided contribution to the genre of “white dudes critiquing ‘privilege’ rhetoric.”
- A Contribution to the Critique of the Exciting New Grad School resulted in a truly world-historical comment thread and probably wound up alienating more people than any single post in AUFS’s history — people “want to believe”!
Meanwhile, these were among my personal favorites:
- Was Plato an Executive Producer on Deep Space 9? — a reflection on the Dominion as a version of Plato’s totalitarian state
- Leaving the Evangelical Borg Collective: Seven of Nine and Me — my Star Trek obsession continues to bear fruit
- “I’m not here to tell you about Jesus”: Don Draper and the Death of God — turns out Mad Men is about radical theology!
- Don Draper the Jew — when it’s not about Judaism
- Tool-Being-toward-Death: On OOO’s misreading of Heidegger — a critique of OOO that’s so nuanced and responsible that none of them bothered to respond to it
- The first job creator — a contemporary perspective on Genesis
Each year I hope that our blogging will be less controversy-driven, and it does appear that our “engagement” with Radical Orthodoxy and OOO has more or less fizzled out (my post on OOO was driven more by my reading of Heidegger than by any ongoing conversation with OOOians). We butted heads with the Emergent types and Peter Rollins — though most of that activity seems to be centered on Twitter — as well as with supporters of Creston Davis’s incredibly misguided attempt to start a new graduate school, though only in an episodic way. Unfortunately, though, it seems that for some readers, controversy is all we do. I imagine that for such people, one post that they view as overly critical is enough to define us as “haters,” regardless of all the other things we do. And so I can only say: so it goes. Whatever others may say, I’m proud of what we’ve built together and thank the many people whose contributions have made AUFS one of the most productive, insightful, and unpredictable blogs out there.