The Worldly Weil: Simone Weil and Political Theology

Benjamin Davis's picture
May 30, 2023 to June 1, 2023
Missouri, United States
Subject Fields: 
Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, French History / Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious Studies and Theology

A workshop on religion, politics, and Simone Weil at The John C. Danforth Center, Washington University in St. Louis

Dates: 30 May-1 June, 2023

What is the relationship between politics and religion, political commitment and religious commitment in the work of Simone Weil? To what extent does Weil’s theology influence her politics, and her politics influence her theology—and how might attention to this question change how we read Weil today? How does Weil separate questions of Church from questions of religion, and what can our answers to these questions tell us about connections between Church and State in the U.S.? This workshop will consider these and other questions about Simone Weil’s political theology and inquiries emerging from it.

This workshop will be held at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis. In keeping with the Center’s focus on scholarly and public engagement with issues at the intersection of politics and religion in the United States, we invite reflection on Weil that considers her thought in dialogue with religious life in the U.S. While Weil kept her eyes largely on her native France, she spent the summer and early fall of 1942 in New York, where she conducted research at public libraries in order to “dig into the hidden recesses of theology.” Weil’s thought has been influential for leading U.S. public intellectuals, from Susan Sontag and Mary McCarthy to Christian Wiman, Christy Wampole, and others today.

The conference will convene at the John C. Danforth Center on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis, where lodging will be available for participants. Additional travel grants will also be available.

We call for proposals of works in progress, more polished moments of ongoing inquiries, experimental projects, and other approaches to thinking together about the above questions and contexts.

Please send your 500-word abstracts on Weil and political theology to Fannie Bialek and Ben Davis by November 15, 2022. Emails: abialek[at] and benjamin.davis.1[at]