Center Assistant Professor Dr. Devan Stahl and Dr. Adam Pryor (Bethany College) are co-editors of the book The Body and Ultimate Concern: Reflections on an Embodied Theology of Paul Tillich, published in October 2018 by Mercer University Press.
Dr. Stahl also contributed a chapter titled “Tillich and Transhumanism.”
Paul Tillich’s account of “ultimate concern” has been crucial for his theological legacy. It is a concept that has been taken up and adapted by many theologians in an array of subfields. However, Tillich’s own account of ultimate concern and many of the subsequent uses of it have focused on intelligibility: the ways it makes what is ultimate more accessible to us as rational beings. This volume charts a different course by placing Tillich’s theology in conversation with theories of radical embodiment. The essays gathered here use discourses on the particularity and mutability of the body to offer a critical vantage point for constructive engagement with Tillich’s central theological category: ultimate concern. Each essay explores how individuals can be special bearers of ultimate concern by engaging the body’s role in faith, religion, and culture. As Mary Ann Stenger, professor emerita from University of Louisville, observes in her introduction: “From concerns about bodily integrity to considering bodies on the margins of society to discussions of technologically modified bodies, these articles offer us fresh theological insights and call us to ethical thinking and actions in relation to our bodies and the bodies around us. And certainly, today, the body and a person’s right to bodily integrity have become central, critical issues in our culture.” Contributors include: David H. Nikkel, Kayko Driedger Hesslein, Beth Ritter-Conn, Tyler Atkinson, Courtney Wilder, Adam Pryor, and Devan Stahl.
Dr. Stahl is President Elect of the North American Paul Tillich Society.
On June 14, Center Assistant Professor Dr. Devan Stahl delivered the Jean Vanier Emerging Scholar Lecture at the Summer Institute on Theology and Disability in Raleigh, NC. Dr. Stahl was awarded this lectureship based on her dissertation work and letters of recommendation regarding her scholarship on disability. Dr. Stahl’s lecture was titled, “From Idol to Icon: Transforming Medical Images into DisArt.” Based largely on her recent book, Imaging and Imagining Illness, she discussed how fine art can transform medical images and challenge our cultural associations with disability. Dr. Stahl is the third Vanier Emerging Scholar and co-director of the PhD seminar at the Summer Institute.
.@DevanStahl on why she uses the word “monstrous” in her disability art: “We don’t use the word monster anymore, but sometimes we still mean it.” #SITD18
Thankful for friends like Dr. Devan Stahl (@DevanStahl) exploring the nebulous boundaries of story, identity, and art. Sometimes the only way to capture/gesture towards the holiness of the embodied experience. #SITD18pic.twitter.com/QuIQk9aqrI
Center Assistant Professor Dr. Devan Stahl and co-author John F. Kilner (Trinity International University) have an article in a special bioethics themed issue of the Journal of the Christian Institute on Disability, volume 6. Their article, “The Image of God, Bioethics, and Persons with Profound Intellectual Disabilities,” is available as a free download on the journal’s website.
Center Assistant Professor Dr. Devan Stahl has a new book available from Cascade Books, Imaging and Imagining Illness: Becoming Whole in a Broken Body. Edited by Dr. Stahl with a foreword from Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, the collection of essays draws from the disciplines of medical humanities, literature, visual culture, philosophy, and theology.
From Dr. Stahl:
Imaging and Imagining Illness explores the effects of imaging technologies on patients’ body image and self-understanding as well as the ways they influence our cultural understandings of illness. The project began as a collaboration between my sister Darian Goldin Stahl and myself. After I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I shared my stories of living with MS as well as my MRIs with Darian. As a print artist, Darian began using my scans in her artwork as a way to give a more complete picture of what it is like to live with illness. Darian’s art had a profound effect on how I saw myself and inspired me to open our collaboration to others. We invited four other scholars to build on our work from their unique disciplines and shed light on the meaning of illness and the impact medical imaging can have on our cultural imagination. Drs. Therese Jones and Kirsten Ostherr offer reflections from their disciplines of medical humanities and visual culture and media studies. Having read all of the previous chapters, Drs. Ellen T. Armour and Jeff P. Bishop build on previous insights and add reflections from theology and philosophy. By engaging illness through multiple disciplines, the book represents the many ways we can understand and represent illness.
Center Assistant Professor Dr. Devan Stahl recently attended the Summer Institute on Theology and Disability in Azusa, California, held June 5-8. Dr. Stahl presented at two workshops. In “Recovering Christian Charity,” she presented on the history of disability charity in American culture to understand why many disability advocates reject charity. The workshop offered possibilities for recovering the traditional understanding of charity within the church and challenged Christians to understand charity in ways that do not demean or dehumanize persons with disabilities.
In the second workshop, “Reflections on Embodiment and Disability Advocacy,” Dr. Stahl joined a group of panelists offering personal reflections on how their understandings of and relationship to their own bodies impact how they carry out their scholarship and advocacy work in disability. The workshop aimed to encourage disability advocates to pay attention to their own embodiment and experience, to think about how that connects to the work they do, and how to use one’s own experiences to make their work deeper and more helpful.
Assistant Professor Dr. Devan Stahl recently attended and presented at the 2016 Summer Institute on Theology and Disability, held in Holland, MI on May 23-26, 2016. Dr. Stahl presented on “Disability Bioethics: How Faith and Ethics influence Health Care.”
Dr. Stahl’s presentation highlighted the intersections of disability ethics, bioethics, and religion as they relate to how people with disabilities are cared for and treated in the health care system. She highlighted both longstanding and recent debates in bioethics concerning disability rights and how these debates influence (and are influenced by) medical research and practice. Dr. Stahl also discussed how various Christian traditions within the American context have understood the role of medicine in the care of people with disabilities as well as the theologies that led many churches to support the American Eugenics movement in the past and various genetic technologies in the present. Dr. Stahl addressed strategies for churches to become better allies for people with disabilities as well as how they can help congregants navigate the medical system and deliberate the use of medical technologies for persons with disabilities.