Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Moravian Theological Seminary, Presiding
Monday – 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
This session focuses on the lives of women of color as sites for transformational pedagogies and epistemologies.
Terry Reeder, Syracuse University
Teaching With Hatty and CeCe
Christian epistemologies and the resulting pedagogies are often the most stalwart bastions of sexism, heteronormativity and patriarchy. They have also served as sad repositories for colonial legacies and perpetrators of cycles of sexual shame. This paper celebrates two women who have forged significant cracks in the façade of Christian colonialism: Harriet Jacobs (Hatty) and the unnamed mother of Augustine of Hippo’s son (whom I call CeCe). This paper explores how Hatty and CeCe desired Christian marriage, were denied Christian marriage and ultimately resisted this heteropatriarchal institution to create new, decolonized categories of womanhood.
Cristina Smith, California Institute of Integral Studies
Sacred Ecowoman: Naming and Reclaiming
This paper speaks to the subtle and unsubtle differences between those who have had the power to name ecofeminist thought and activism and those who have had to work with the Earth Herself in order to survive. These women are reclaiming their own identity, and their sacred and spiritual ecojourney – restless, invisible, and shamed as it may be – is invaluable.
Eboni Marshall Turman, Union Theological Seminary
The First and the Last: Theorizing the Moral Paradox of Black Women’s Bodies in the Shadow of Michelle Obama
This paper traces the problem of the black body in the American body politic to interrogate how contrived images of black women’s bodies have materialized in the era of “colorblindness,” within the context of the 2012 US presidential election. It will juxtapose intercommunal caricatures of Michelle Obama as Sapphire and Jezebel, angry and sexually lascivious, with intracommunal renderings of the First Lady as Standard; that is, as the salvific incarnation of black women’s presumed aspirations. It asserts the “both/and quality” of black women’s realities, the paradox of embodying the privilege of a literal American “first,” and the reality of being disproportionately represented as American society’s least valuable member – poor, sick, and imprisoned -the literal “least of these,” as a primary source of black women’s identity crisis. The paper finally proposes a womanist incarnation ethic as resource for fashioning redemptive possibilities for being a black woman in a white (wo)man’s America.
Meredith Coleman-Tobias, Emory University
Teaching the Know: Ethnography of Afro-Caribbean Religious Diasporas and Scholar-Activist Pedagogy
In her pioneering work This Spot of Ground: Spiritual Baptists in Toronto, sociologist of religion Carol B. Duncan maps an ethnography of an immigrant African Diasporic religious community. With critical axes in Brooklyn, London, and Toronto, Spiritual Baptists prosaically resist multiple imperialist contexts. Through subaltern technologies – dreaming, mourning, thanksgiving, and pilgrimage – Spiritual Baptist members in diaspora create discursive networks that may be instructive to activist pedagogy. I seek to explore how the critical, intentional study of an ethnography advances a transformative teaching method. Moreover, I investigate how scholar-activists develop dialectical, ethical teaching strategies that draw upon the very religious performance we consider.
Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Moravian Theological Seminary
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Grace Ji-Sun Kim is Associate Professor of Doctrinal Theology and the Director of the MATS program at Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She is the author of The Holy Spirit, Chi, and the Other: A Model of Global and Intercultural Pneumatology (Palgrave Macmillan) and The Grace of Sophia: A Korean North American Women’s Christology (Pilgrim Press).