PAPERS Resources

AAR Annual Meeting
San Diego, CA
November 23-26, 2019

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Women of Color Scholarship, Teaching, and Activism Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

This Unit fosters intellectual exchange in the fields of religious studies and theology as they are developing in diverse communities of color from a gendered analysis. While the AAR features Program Units from diverse communities of color, we provide a space for conversation between communities of color. This Unit does not assume a prior “women of color” identity, but centers a woman of color analytic that deconstructs the intersecting logics of gender and race. At the same time, we do not hold to a “post-identity” framework and are also concerned with the status of women of color in the academy, the politics of pedagogy, and the relationship between women-of-color-centered activism and scholarship. Understanding identity as performative and shifting, we make the very category of “women of color” itself a site for political and intellectual engagement.

Call for Papers: 

Inspired by this year’s AAR presidential theme, Scholarly Workers in Public Spaces, we are inviting submissions from self-identified women of color scholars, activists and teachers whose work asks: How does our work in public spaces impact on the private spaces and the lives of women? How are women of color flourishing in marginal spaces and fostering the flourishing of others? We invite/envision broad engagement between activists, scholar-practitioners and academics that address the themes below:

● Public places, private spaces: WOC practices of spirituality, teaching, leadership, and healing


● Mentorship, mothering, and other-mothering in scholarship/teaching/activism


● Strategies for navigating white public spaces 


● What do we mean when we say “Women of Color” - how do we define and build meaningful solidarities across faiths, ethnicities, racialized groups?


We also invite submissions for the following proposed co-sponsored sessions:
● For a possible co-sponsored session between the Women and Religion Unit, The Academic Labor and Contingent Faculty Working Group and the Women of Color Scholarship, Teaching and Activism Unit -
Asian feminist/Latinx/Black Feminist/Womanist/Indigenous feminist scholarship as activism and social activism as scholarship: We seek critical proposals that reexamine activist “praxis” in the academy, religious communities, and/or society and which encourage dialogue between communities. We encourage proposals that engage local, national, and transnational contexts as well as how professional status, such as contingent faculty, impact approaches to activism.

For a possible joint session between the Womanist Approaches to Religion and Society Unit, the Black Theology Unit, and the Women of Color Scholarship, Teaching and Activism Unit -
Black women leaders (scholars/activists/artists/revolutionaries) in the academy and the larger world have made profound impact in public spaces. Significant emergence of Black women's power occurred in California during the 1960s with the founding of the Black Panther Party and the Black Studies Movement, in concert with Black women who participated in the cultural, religious, and economic nationalist wing of the Black Power Movement. Powerful women also shaped the Nation of Islam. These brilliant activists, community organizers, writers, artists, and thinkers served important and influential roles, implemented programs that were vital to uplifting the Black community, and called out sexism. Black students from UC Santa Barbara joined the national civil rights movement to end racial segregation and the systematic exclusion of African American studies from the curriculum of major universities. Their protest and vision resulted in the founding of Department of Black Studies and a Center for Black Studies to monitor, coordinate, support, and encourage research in the community. This session explores the intersections of the profound impact of prominent women in the Black Power Movement (e.g., Kathleen Cleaver, Assata Shakur, Elaine Brown, Angela Davis, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Sonya Sanchez, etc.) and the impact of Black Studies Movement as spaces for liberation from oppression in conversation with the 25th anniversary groundbreaking Black Womanist Ethics and the social justice and societal critique of Dr. Emilie Townes' work, Womanist Justice, Womanist Hope.

● For a possible joint session between the Religion and Food Unit and the Women of Color Scholarship, Teaching and Activism Unit -
We invite papers that explore of how the work of women of color (as scholars, teachers and activists) in public spaces impacts the private spaces and lives of women. We envision broad engagement between activists, scholar-practitioners, theologians and religious scholars. Submissions may engage, but are not limited to, the following issues:

○ The work of women of color in communities facing food injustice and/or insecurity
○ The historical significance of women of color engaging in cooperative activist work (e.g., Dorothy Height’s support of Fannie Lou Hamer’s pig banking project)
○ Fannie Lou Hamer’s work with the Freedom Farms Cooperative and its lasting effects on the struggle for civil rights and/or later social justice work
○ The type(s) of strategies generated by women of color who work “in the dirt” -- in farming/food spaces -- as well as academic spaces
○ The ways issues of food, environmental, and eco-activism shape practices for teachers, inside and outside the classroom
○ How women of color mobilize spiritual resources, interfaith networks, and spiritual activism as means of addressing food justice

Method: 
PAPERS
Process: 
Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members
Leadership: 
ChairSteering Committee