Below is a working draft of my 150-word abstract for a project I’m currently proposing. I throw it out now (1) in order finally to post something new here, and (2) to get any thoughts or recommendations from the mases. If you’re interested enough, I might even post the 750-word elaboration.
This project traces the theological subtext behind the politics and aesthetics of craftsmanship developed by John Ruskin and William Morris (with their American contemporary, Henry David Thoreau, in the background). I argue that the Arts and Crafts movement of 1875-1920 that they pioneered conceptualizes what we call here a ‘theological poetics of resistance’. Craftsmanship, as envisioned by Ruskin and enacted by Morris, is a means of resistance inasmuch as it aims to outstrip, if not altogether nullify, the political and economic alternatives presented as realistic and/or viable. Moreover, we contend that craftsmanship embodies a ‘theological poetics’ inasmuch as its resistance does not simply establish another position or perspective, or set itself strictly in utopic opposition to the present, but is the intentional practice of thinking and creating that is in fundamental excess to the existent horizon of being into which the present unfolds and from which all positions have meaning.