The lecture will be based on new book, Intersectional Theology co-written with Susan Shaw.
I will also teach a class on “Asian American Theology”.
Intersectional Theology Lecture at Georgetown University Qatar
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Seminar: 12:50 pm
Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Associate Professor of Theology at Earlham School of Religion
Moderator: Akintunde Akinade, Georgetown University in Qatar
The lecture will be based on my book, Intersectional Theology cowritten with Dr. Susan Shaw.
For most of Christian history, theology has been the purview of educated, heterosexual, white, Western men. Recognizing the importance of context for theology, liberation theologies challenged traditional paradigms, centering the marginalized and articulating theologies from below. While these theologies shifted the center to diverse identities, they tended to be mono-focused, or what feminist scholar Vivian May calls “gender-first” or “race-first,” an approach that gives priority to one facet of identity as explanatory for experiences of oppression. Black feminist thought, however, gave rise to the notion of intersectionality. Intersectionality recognizes that people experience multiple and intersecting systems of oppression and domination simultaneously and so calls for “both/and” rather than “single axis” thinking. Intersectional theology asks theology the questions of intersectionality. Its questions challenge theology to decenter the mythical norm and center intersections of identities and structures of power toward a praxis of justice.
Faculty Research Seminar: “Intersectional Theology”
Grace Ji-Sun Kim, an Associate Professor of Theology at Earlham School of Religion in Richmond, Indiana (U.S.A.), shared her work on the application of the concepts of intersectionality to the study and practice of theology at a Faculty Research Seminar on Tuesday, March 12, 2019.
Professor Ji-Sun Kim began by presenting a comprehensive definition of the term “intersectionality,” a sociological theory developed primarily by black feminists.
Intersectionality, she said, serves as “a lens for understanding how gender, race, social class, identity and other forms of difference work concurrently to shape people and social institutions within multiple relationships of power.“ Her recently published book Intersectional Theology: An Introductory Guide was one of the first to apply the term to the theological world.
“Understanding in theology is often rigid. Christianity has been around for around 2000 years, and for the bulk of that time, a European way of understanding it dominated.” But that Eurocentric worldview, she explained, has been diminishing due to a variety of factors, including the rise of missionaries from the developing world—a departure from Western sources of ecumenical leadership.
Ultimately, she concluded, the purpose of applying intersectionality to theology is to gain new insights into faith, promote a more diverse and inclusive faith community, and to center social justice in the study and practice of religion.
The seminar was moderated by GU-Q professor of theology, Akintunde Akinade, and was attended by students, faculty and staff.
The GU-Q Faculty Seminars are an annual series in which GU-Q faculty and guests present research in progress and receive feedback from other faculty members. The central goal is to further faculty’s research by offering opportunities both to present ideas and to learn from the ideas of others from GU-Q, Education City, and beyond.