The corporate form

Cocurated by TIF Editorial Board Members Vaughn A. Booker (Dartmouth College) and Nathan Schneider (University of Colorado, Boulder) and TIF Editor Mona Oraby (Amherst College), this forum responds to a recent call in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion and extends earlier TIF discussions on philanthropy, economy, and corporation.

As Booker, Schneider, and Oraby write in their introductory essay, “We invited scholars to query the corporate form from the perspective of their research expertise. Our invitation included a constellation of questions centered on three areas: corporate histories, corporate cultural production, and corporate ethics. We wanted to know: How do religiously justified institutions of dispossession, such as slavery and colonialism, persist in corporate imaginations today? What do material, visual, and auditory artifacts teach us about the rituals of corporate life? In what sense might we say these goods and possessions characterize corporate pasts and presents? What are the moral discourses of ethical, reformist, and/or socially responsible corporate endeavors? How have communities challenged, reinforced, or reimagined dominant corporate forms? The contributions to this forum address these questions directly and indirectly, and raise many other questions whose answers are not easily summarized. Instead, this forum might be said to cull together thinkers and their thoughts. This forum drives forward, and opens further, an ongoing debate.”

The forum begins with a brief introductory essay by Booker, Schneider, and Oraby and an essay from the JAAR article coauthors. These two framing pieces will be followed by seven paired conversations between scholars of religion from a range of disciplines and with diverse research expertise. Kathryn Lofton (Yale University) will conclude the forum.