PAPERS Resources

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

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  • Books under Discussion
Ecclesial Practices Unit and Practical Theology Unit
Theme: Christian Theology and Ethnography in Intersection: Engaging Todd Whitmore’s Imitating Christ in Magwi: An Anthropological Theology (Bloomsbury, 2019)
Michael Grigoni, Duke University, Presiding
Saturday - 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Convention Center-3 (Upper Level West)

While the ethnographic turn in Christian theology is well-established, few monographs have appeared in which theologians both conduct ethnographic fieldwork and leverage their research toward theological ends. This roundtable session seeks to recognize the recent appearance of such a work, Todd Whitmore’s Imitating Christ in Magwi: An Anthropological Theology (Bloomsbury, 2019), and discuss its significance for the ethnographic turn in Christian theology.

In his book, Whitmore argues that the Christian theologian has a vocation to “reenact” and “revivify” Jesus, and that an ethnographically-grounded theology provides a powerful means by which to engage in this “gospel mimesis.” This is a vision of theology done with and through the body, carried out in the field rather than the armchair, among and on behalf of victims of violence. This session explores the significance of this vision of “mimetic theology” done in imitatio Christi and the possibilities for an embodied solidarity it models.

Simeon O. Ilesanmi, Wake Forest University
Ted A. Smith, Emory University
Natalie Wigg-Stevenson, Emmanuel College
Mary Clark Moschella, Yale University
Todd D. Whitmore, University of Notre Dame