College Theology SocietyServing Church and Academy Since 1954

Mysticism and Politics

2024 Call for Papers

Kyle Johnson, Boston College

The 2024 Conference theme provides the Mysticism & Politics section the important opportunity to contribute reflections on vulnerability and flourishing. The following themes and questions are of particular interest to the section.


  •  Mysticism of, by, and for “the vulnerable” – including interrogations of such designations through the lenses of mystical theology and reflections on power.
  • Of particular interest are the way these intersect with indigenous American spiritualities, and histories of violence against indigenous peoples, particularly in the context of Denver.
  • Themes related to vulnerability (or kenosis or askesis), mysticism, and power as debated in contemporary theology.
  • The intersections between power, mysticism, and the many, ongoing, abuse crises throughout Christianity. When and how have mystical theologies and practices contributed to these crises, or served as sites of healing?
  • Mysticism and theological aesthetics – how have the visual languages deployed in communication or representation of “the mystical” contributed to either victimization or flourishing?
  • Engagement with the work of An Yountea and others on “the abyss,” as a constructive mystical-theological resource in light of coloniality and decoloniality.
  • Practical reflections on the social, political, and/or therapeutic, role of mysticism and mystical theology in healing and liberation. The experience of practitioners (ministerial, educational, activist, and more) is particularly encouraged.
  • In keeping with the CTS’s focus on educators, how might teachers practice and promote trauma-informed approaches to mysticism and spirituality (in both theological and practical perspectives) in the classroom?
  • What is a mysticism of flourishing? And what constitutes a flourishing mysticism?


Other topics will be considered, but priority given to those that relate to the conference theme.


Please contact S. Kyle Johnson with proposals:

The College Theology Society is a registered, non-profit professional society and a Related Scholarly Organization of the American Academy of Religion.


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