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2016 - National Women's Studies Association Words: 100 words || 
1. Haq, Sara. "The Feminine Divine, The Queer Divine: Sufi Thought as World-Making and the Resistant Imaginal" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Women's Studies Association, Palais des congrès de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, <Not Available>. 2019-10-14 <>
Publication Type: Individual Paper
Abstract: How can everyday social and cultural practices, particularly South Asian Sufi poetry and storytelling, be understood as a form of feminist, decolonial world-making? On one level, it is the colonial within Islam, which leaves Sufism marginalized, while privileging a patriarchal reading of Islam. For example, what is the critical and creative potential of reading a Feminine Divine or a Queer Divine, rather than a Masculine Divine? On another level, it is the colonial within feminism, which has left religio-spirituality marginalized. How can Sufi aesthetics be used to re/create radical visions, and reimagine the affective landscape of feminism, Islamic or otherwise.

2016 - American Political Science Association Annual Meeting Words: 307 words || 
2. Simons, Jon. "Divine Violence, Divine Peace: Benjamin and Israeli/Palestinian Peace Activism" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, TBA, Philadelphia, PA, <Not Available>. 2019-10-14 <>
Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: How does Walter Benjamin’s critique of legal violence, his conceptualization of pure means, and his apparent endorsement of pure, immediate, divine violence help us to think through peace activism in Israel/Palestine? In his essay, “The Critique of Violence” Benjamin criticizes both natural and positive law for justifying violent means to achieve just ends. A peace treaty, in this light, is the sanctioning of victory that follows the impure use of violence as a means to establish and preserve law. In contrast to the “mythical” violence that constitutes law, Benjamin writes counter-intuitively about a pure, expiating, sovereign, divine violence that destroys law and the boundaries within which it operates. In this paper I argue that a notion of divine peace can be extrapolated from divine violence by following the connections of both the latter to Benjamin’s discussion of the nonviolent resolution of private conflicts through the unalloyed means of agreement (his theory of pure language); and the connection of Benjamin’s critique of violence with his non-linear theological (or messianic), philosophy of history.
Rabbis for Human Rights, an Israeli organization struggling non-violently for justice for both Israelis and Palestinians, draws on both a humanistic reading of the Jewish tradition and secular, universal principles of human rights, in addition to using legal means to pursue its goals. On the face of it, the organization seems to rely on “legal violence.” At the same time, the group insists on justice for men and women created in God’s image, be they Jewish or Palestinian. It prefigures a just peace that is not brought about instrumentally or embodied as a future peace treaty. The organization draws on conceptions of both messianic of peace and (less directly) expiating divine violence – or what I call “divine peace” in the way that it intervenes in and “does violence” to the violence of nationalized Jewish theology.

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