Rick Elgendy

"Power, Complicity, and Resistance: Rereading "The Powers" with Karl Barth and Michel Foucault"

My dissertation generates a Christian theology of power and describes practices of critical resistance by means of a comparison between Karl Barth and Michel Foucault. This project rests on the assumption that theology, in at least some of its aspects, is commensurable with certain other discourses, such as social and critical theory. That is, I take it that these disciplines overlap not just in their practical applications, but also in the formative stages of their theoretical articulation. I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to test this hypothesis in the truly interdisciplinary environment of the Martin Marty Center this year.

The Martin Marty Center facilitates conversations defined simultaneously by relations to multiple publics – religious, scholarly, and cultural. As a political theologian, the relevance and intelligibility of my work to these publics are crucial. The dissertation seminar, public presentation, and other activities will hold me accountable to both the highest standards of scholarly rigor, characteristic of the Divinity School, and the demands of a social climate in which meaningful interventions into public theological discourse are urgently relevant. As I write its middle chapters, these concerns will become part of the very fabric of my project, rather than afterthoughts, and I am immensely grateful to the Martin Marty Center for the opportunity to forge a dissertation in such a context.