Can The Subaltern Blog? Part 2: Theology Studio, Gender, And The Rhetoric of “Dialogue”

From over three years ago, in case you missed it, my first post on gender and blogging and religious studies: Can the Subaltern Blog: The problem of institutional sexism and the biblioblogs.

It’s been a while since I first started my own individual campaign to recruit more women religious studies bloggers. Part of the confusion, last year, was what exactly do biblical and theological studies blogs look like, is there a community out there for people to get connected with, who determines what as a theoblog/biblioblog? According to one Biblioblogging group (biblical studies blogging), the Biblioblog Top 50, which PJ remains relevant most of the time (okay, just barely!), there are limits to who can be considered “BIBLIOBLOGGER” and who can’t: Biblioblog Top 50: About page, authoritative it is not, but persuasive and influential, yes. So, any denial of hold of power/influence in this community on the part of the adminstrators just doesn’t hold water.

Last week, we saw a few way in which gender relations work online and in the meat world when it comes to theological studies. For example, the conversation that became a lecture circuit with the Theology Studio folks was a classic case. First, Tony Baker posted “Gender and the Studio, which made the Nephilim taking of the human women sexually in Genesis (ummm rape?) as a potential model of gender and theology (men as giver, women as recipient—i.e., still no mutuality really). Theology would remain a space of white male patronage allowing the womenfolk and minorities to dance before the crown. Brandy Daniels of Vanderbilt responded with a three part series on AUFS, I would recommend all three posts, but especially Part I.

Both on the blogosphere and on the Theology Studio facebook group, a conversation was sparked, and even when persons like myself, Tim McGee, and Jay Carter were asking questions, at least one commenter or admin for the group wanted to shut down the conversation at 92 comments. That was way less than our comment section on Milbank and Military schools in the U.K.

After all of the talk that went on Twitter, facebook, and various blogs, Baker has, after being the one to initially want to talk about gender, wants to close the facebook group where a number of both those sympathetic to Theology Studio’s RadOx/postliberal leanings as well as critics encounter each other daily. Baker claims that it’s impossible to have patience and talk about these issues online, but the fact is is that we were talking about these issues, GENDER specifically; the fact is is that YOU did not like reading the criticisms of your interpretation of Genesis (one I am sure Augustine himself would not hold), and facing the heat. Phasing out the Facebook group means shutting down detractors who hold many of the same theological concerns and methodologies as TS.

So, what do I think should be done?

First, we should rid ourselves (us, independents and religious scholars) of the rhetoric of dialogue. People who say “they just want to have a conversation” are just plain lying to themselves. Come dialogue with me when you are willing to take action. Conversation is for people fooling themselves who say they want to talk with people they disagree with, but ind the end, they just want to lecture others.

Second, I would like to affirm Jimmy’s suggestions in Stop Collaborate, And Listen: On Gendered Absences in the theological blogosphere, that we male religious scholars just stop, listen (and read and write with) women scholars.

Thirdly, it may be time to start an informal theology blogging community, perhaps separate but along with Biblioblog Top 50. I don’t know how it would work, but it’s a starting point, perhaps to have a few rules to intentionally include the voices of women and marginalized voices, something that is far more decentralized and hegemonic than the “Biblioblogs” and for persons who sympathies do not rest with the Society of Biblical Literature, as good as those people are.

I would love to hear/read your thoughts.

What do you all think? Time to give up the rhetoric of dialogue?

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h00die_R (Rod)

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4 thoughts on “Can The Subaltern Blog? Part 2: Theology Studio, Gender, And The Rhetoric of “Dialogue”

  1. “have a few rules to intentionally include the voices of women and marginalized voices”

    What do I think? I think you’re on to something. The sad thing is that it’s not just bibleblah-gging men who shut out the women. Men in lots of different social media contexts do this (i.e., facebook, wikipedia). The sad thing is that is also is men bibliblio-blah-gers. King of the mountain, king of the hill, head of the woman/wife – it’s not going to stop anytime soon, unless / until also “we male religious scholars just stop, listen (and read and write with) women scholars.” Thanks for rallying (again, sigh)!

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