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Postcolonial Politics and Theology

Unraveling Empire for a Global World

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Westminster John Knox Press
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Postcolonial Politics and Theology seeks to reform and reimagine the field of political theology—uprooting it from the colonial soil—using the comparative lenses of postcolonial politics and theology to bring attention to the realities of the Global South. Kwok Pui-lan traces the history of the political impacts of Western theological development, especially developments in the U.S. context, and the need to shift these interlocking fields toward non-Western traditions in theory and practice.


A special focus of the book is on the changing sociopolitical realities of American Empire and Sino-American competition, illustrated in Donald Trump’s slogan of “Make America Great Again” and Xi Jinping’s hope for a “China Dream.” The shifting of U.S. and Asian relationships highlights the need to move our theological and political categories away from a vision of strongman domination and toward a postmodern, postcolonial, and transnational world, especially exemplified in the Asia Pacific context.


Throughout, Kwok overturns the idea of centering one cultural framework and marginalizing others in favor of living into a multiplicity of deeply contextual theologies. She explores how these theologies are being developed in global, postcolonial contexts, through struggles for democracy and civil disobedience in Hong Kong, by efforts to reclaim selfhood and sexual identity from exploitative colonial desire, through the work of interreligious solidarity and peacebuilding, and in the practice of earth care in the face of ecological crisis.  

Kwok Pui-lan is Dean's Professor of Systematic Theology at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, and a past president of the American Academy of Religion. An internationally known theologian, she is a pioneer of Asian and Asian American feminist theology and postcolonial theology. She is the author or editor of numerous books published in English and Chinese, her works have been translated into English, Chinese, German, Dutch, Spanish, and Portuguese.
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“Kwok Pui-lan’s Postcolonial Politics and Theology expands the horizons of political theology that are steeped in Eurocentric theories and Western colonial legacy by shifting theological locus to the geopolitical and social realities of the Global South. This comprehensive book could not come at a more relevant time. It is a must read for anyone who is interested in what radically reimagined contours of political theology have to offer from postcolonial and transnational perspectives.”—Nami Kim, Professor of Religious Studies, Spelman College

“A stunningly accessible and comprehensive map of postcolonial thought and global theology. With this text, Kwok Pui-lan gives us the gift of nourishing and insightful analyses of postcolonial geographies of race, class, gender, and sexuality that ‘challenge the Eurocentric preoccupation of political theology.”—Traci C. West, Professor of Christian Ethics and African American Studies, Drew Theological School

"The final outstanding contribution of this volume is one not indicated by the title, although it will be unsurprising for anyone familiar with Kwok’s work. Her use of feminist and queer angles to correct and challenge masculine normativity in theology, postcolonial political theology and peacebuilding is impressive and infused throughout. This is a broad yet powerful book that challenges political theology and will hopefully reawaken it to a larger scope of topics and a better representation of voices." - Modern Believing

"It offers a critical lens for preachers to understand thecomplexity of postcolonial political situations of our time and the ongoing influence of colonialism in political and theological discourse. Additionally, it provides postcolonial practices that resist the threats of empire and create a space in which people can reimagine themselves towards a different possible future based on postcolonial hope." - Homiletic Journal

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