Indecent Calvinists and Vanilla Secularism: Redefining Decency in The Netherlands

J. Stegeman, C.A.M. van den Berg, M.A. Westerduin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Using Althaus-Reid’s Indecent Theology as a methodology, this article contributes to reflections on the contextuality and physical dimension of Dutch theology: its relation to the Protestant white (mostly male) bodies of its
practitioners and its support of and contributions to colonial power and colonial racializing discourse. We do this in a context of a ‘return to decency’ in political
discourse in which ‘our’ Calvinist roots are evoked to construct a ‘shared’ past. Using two case studies, we analyse how the in/decent is constructed in the Netherlands. As secularism is more ‘vanilla’ and Calvinism more indecent than is usually assumed, engagement with indecent texts and untidy roots of Calvinism is needed to re-member both the violent character of Calvinist hermeneutics, as well as its potential for indecent readings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-320
Number of pages13
JournalFeminist Theology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2018


  • Marcella Althaus-Reid
  • Secularism
  • Indecent Theology
  • Netherlands
  • Calvinism
  • Race
  • Gender


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