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Few would dispute that political and intercultural theologies are here to stay. What is disputed, however, is their place in the academy. It is frequently assumed that political and intercultural theologies are merely examples of special interests and concerns and thus optional, to be embraced by some but not by others. The terminology of contextual theology has added to the confusion, as contexts are often misunderstood as the special interests and concerns of some rather than others. This article argues that political and intercultural theologies are not optional but necessary for the academic study of theology and religion today. Rather than special interest, they promote fresh approaches to the common interest, challenging seemingly unilateral and universal approaches.