Neighbours have been represented by images ranging from that of the monster and alien, to those of strangers or friends. This transdisciplinary unit explores the shifts in understanding the neighbour as they overlap with, and are consequential for, conceiving of ‘the self’, responsible political/moral decision-making and action, and the nature of sameness and difference as political categories. Attention is paid to associated themes such as those of ‘gift’, ‘sacrifice’, ‘love’, ‘hospitality’, and ‘democracy’.

Unit code: CT9200Y

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Systematic Theology

Proposing College: Yarra Theological Union

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Learning outcomes


Articulately evaluate major strands within political philosophy, political theology, and moral theology.


Demonstrate critical distinctions between various approaches to the theme of the neighbour.


Critically analyse the shifts in theorising about the neighbour and the politics of the practice of neighbourliness.


Evaluate the relationship between concepts of the neighbour, sameness and difference.


Demonstrate a capacity to research a specific topic in a critically rigorous, sustained and self-directed manner.


Appraise the theological implications of the secularisation of the category of ‘the neighbour’.

Unit sequence

Prerequisite: 1xAP, or CT unit.


Asynchronous and synchronous Lectures lectures and tutorials

Indicative Bibliography

Popular Patristics Series (NY: SVS Press).
Arendt, Hannah. The Human Condition (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1958). Arendt, Hannah. The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: Harcourt, 1976). Augustine. City of God. Trans. Henry Bettenson (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1972).
Bauman, Zygmunt. Strangers at Our Door (Cambridge and Malden: Polity, 2016). Brown, Wendy. In the Ruins of Neoliberalism: The Rise of Antidemocratic Politics in the West (New York: Columbia University Press, 2019).
Brown, Wendy. Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution (New York: Zone Books, 2015). Burrell, David B. Friendship and Ways to Truth (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2000). Butler, Judith. Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence (London and New York: Verso, 2004).
Connolly, William E. Identity/Difference: Democratic Negotiations of Political Paradox, expanded edn. (Minneapolis and London: University of Minneapolis Press, 1991).
Derrida, Jacques. ‘Hostipitality’, in Acts of Religion (London and New York: Routledge, 2002), pp. 356–420. Giroux, Henry. The Public in Peril: Trump and the Menace of American Authoritarianism (New York and London: Routledge, 2018). Kearney, Richard. Strangers, Monsters, and Gods: Interpreting Otherness (London and New York: Routledge, 2003). Mouffe, Chantal. For A Left Populism (London and New York: Verso, 2018).
Schmitt, Carl. Political Theology : Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty. Trans. George Schwab (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1985). Wyschogrod, Edith. Saints and Postmodernism: Revisioning Moral Philosophy (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1990).
Žižek, Slavoj. Against the Double Blackmail: Refugees, Terror and Other Trouble with Neighbours (Milton Keynes: Allen Lane, 2016).
Žižek, Slavoj, Santner, Eric, and Reinhard, Kenneth. The Neighbour: Three Inquiries in Political Theology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011).

(PG additional) Derrida, Jacques. Of Hospitality: Anne Dufourmantelle Invites Jacques Derrida to Respond. Trans. Rachel Bowlby (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000). McDowell, John C. Theology and the Globalized Present: Feasting in the Presence of God (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2019).
McDowell, John C. ‘Thoughtfulness and Hospitality: On Refusing Antagonistic Politics at the End of History’, Religions 11.164 (2020),


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Variant 1

Essay - research project 700 10.0
Essay - research project 6300 90.0

Variant 2

Essay 2500 35.0
Essay 4500 65.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Prof Albert Haddad on 6 Apr, 2022

Unit record last updated: 2022-04-06 13:15:21 +1000