Audio from the Speculative Medievalisms Event

The audio from the Speculative Medievalisms event that I participated in last week are now online. My talk on The Speculative Angel marks the first time I’ve talked in public about some of the weirder theological material I’ve been working on in my ongoing non-theology project. This talk is mostly tied to the texts that I’ve been using, some Medieval and others contemporary, but I’m working to see if angelology can be reclaimed as a kind of speculation about speculation from within a decidedly political perspective. That is, speculation about speculation which aims to think differently than the current state, which accords with the source material. I’m open to any remarks from those who listen to the talk. Ben Woodard’s response to my paper is at the end of the audio file. I have to admit that, while I was glad to hear someone else using my grey ecology phrase, I wasn’t entirely sure what Ben was trying to say to me even though I guessed it would have something to do with demons. The chair, Eileen Joy, was quite taken with his talk though and it seemed well received by the audience, so I am probably missing something here.

All of the talks were very interesting, but Nick Srnick’s talk and the two responses that follow are really worth a listen, especially for those interested in political theology and economics. He’s posted online the powerpoint he used in the talk as well.


For the most part, angels have been successfully downplayed in modern Christianity. There are of course the “spiritual warfare” types and the various New Age-y angel trends, but when it comes to preaching in most churches, angels are reduced to a bare minimum. That’s why it’s so jarring to realize how completely unavoidable they are at Christmas time. Virtually every religious Christmas carol at least mentions them, and there are a few that are completely focused on the angels. And of course angels figure prominently in both the “standard” Christmas story from Luke and the one in Matthew.

Since reading Agamben’s Kingdom and the Glory, I’ve been much more interested in angels, and my immediate thought when this occurred to me during a Christmas Eve service at my parents’ church is that Christmas is also the most “economic” holiday. Continue reading “Hark!”