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.
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Women of Color Scholarship, Teaching, and Activism Unit
Call for Proposals
Inspired by this year's Presidential Theme, “Religion and Catastrophe,” we invite submissions around the following themes:
• As we consider the ongoing and often ‘catastrophic’ intersectional vulnerabilities that distinctly impact WOC, how do we imagine rest and resilience as strategies for transcending and ultimately transforming catastrophic realities?
• What are the gifts found in catastrophe? What resources do WOC use to celebrate catastrophe as an opportunity for new beginnings and imagining/creating new futures? Here, consideration of the work of Octavia Butler, engagement with her work is invited. Particularly as it relates to the inclusion of WOC in discussions around imagining new worlds in light of catastrophic climate change.
• How do political catastrophes invite WOC (who tend to be disproportionately affected by changes in legislation) to do public theology; public engagement of religion (broadly imagined, from a multi-religious perspective)? What models of activism, spirituality, and religious practice help us to mitigate such catastrophes?
• Teaching in Response to Changing Laws on Abortion: In response to our nation’s changing laws around the right to an abortion and the lack of services and structures for reproductive justice, we welcome proposals on the role of religion/theology in teaching and engaging students in thinking critically about abortion and reproductive justice, including making broader connections to supporting democracy and addressing gender, race, and class oppression .Co-sponsors: Women’s Caucus, Feminist Theory and Religious Reflection, Women and Religion, Women of Color Scholarship, Teaching, and Activism
Additionally, we invite submissions around the following themes:
• Celebrating women who broke barriers—mentors, models, firsts, trailblazers—especially women who have not been celebrated, honored, etc. for their work. As it relates to the academy, what ‘work’ is rewarded/affirmed for promotion and tenure? Who is doing the interdisciplinary work of unearthing and celebrating the intellectual and communal work of these ‘hidden sheroes?’ How do BIPOC women think about sheroes, how do we hear their stories, and embody their stories, learn from them, etc. what threads of similarity run through shero narratives. How can we honor leaders and mentors among BIPOC scholars and activist that we return to but may not have been recognized the way they should have been?
• As, BIPOC, we invite explorations of the notion of “women of color:” who defines WOC, what intersections of identity inform us and/or our allies. We invite a rich assortment of women and allies to the table, to have the conversation. Enriching understanding/expanding the understanding of what it means to be WOC.
Statement of Purpose
Steering Committee Members
Christine Hong, Columbia Theological Seminary1/1/2019 - 12/31/2024
Cona Marshall, University of Rochester1/1/2018 - 12/31/2023
Oluwatomisin Oredein, Brite Divinity School1/1/2015 - 12/31/2020
Lorena Parrish, WESLEY THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY1/1/2019 - 12/31/2024
JungJa Joy Yu, Claremont Graduate University1/1/2019 - 12/31/2024