AAR Annual Meeting
November 18-21, 2017
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This Unit provides a forum for religious scholarship that engages theoretically and methodologically the four-part definition of a Womanist as coined by Alice Walker. We nurture interdisciplinary scholarship, encourage interfaith dialogue, and seek to engage scholars and practitioners in fields outside the study of religion. We are particularly concerned with fostering scholarship that bridges theory and practice and addresses issues of public policy in church and society.
Session One: Womanist Ways of Advocacy: Public Policy and Re-Envisioning the Black Social Gospel
This session will review the perspectives and practices of Black women to address public policy issues. We especially seek papers that place emphasis on the following: 1) The advocacy work of Black women politicians, 2) Black women’s use of the arts as platforms for political resistance and liberation, and 3) Black women’s efforts to reshape the social gospel for this 21st century.
Session Two: Wholistic Self-care: Mining the Depths, Challenges, and Stigmas of Communal and Private Mental Health from Womanist Perspectives.
While progress is being made with how people view mental health, this session will explore consistent challenges and stigmas for Black people: 1) the challenges of gaining access to affirming and competent mental health care for Black women (heterosexual and LBTQ), 2) the stigmas associated with mental health disabilities within academia, and 3) How faith shapes coping strategies and attitudes about mental health within Black communities.
Possible Joint Session
Papers for a possible joint session with the Womanist Approaches to Religion and Society Unit, Liberation Theologies Unit, and the Black Theology Unit on the various ways in which bodies are used to communicate, interpret, and theologize --to tell stories drawn from signing the body-- in African American and other cultures, including the use of Black American Sign Language, a distinct variant of ASL that arose from the experiences of Black Deaf people in segregated schools for the deaf.
Author-Meets-Critics panel for Nikki Young's recent book Black Queer Ethics, Family, and Philosophical Imagination (Palgrave, 2016) (http://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9781137584984).