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 (Co-sponsored by the Transformative Scholarship and Pedagogy; Women and Religion; Women’s Caucus; Women of Color Scholarship, Teaching, and Activism Units)
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.
Honoring the Scholarship, Sisterhood, and Scholastic Legacy of Dianne M. Stewart and Tracey E. Hucks Hucks (Co-sponsored between the African Diaspora Religions Unit, African Religions Unit, Afro-American Religious History Unit, Black Theology Unit, Critical Theory and Discourse on Religion Unit, Liberation Theologies Unit, North American Religions Unit, Womanist Approaches to Religion and Society Unit, Women and Religion Unit, Women of Color Scholarship, Teaching and Activism Unit, and the Women’s Caucus)
Closed to Submissions. Dianne M. Stewart and Tracey E. Hucks are not only two of the most prominent Africana religious studies scholars, their friendship, their colleague-sisterhood, and their marasa-ibeji consciousness (Clark 1991) truly embody their transdisciplinary theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of the Africana religious world (Stewart and Hucks 2013, p. 31). Having been informed by and influenced a range of fields including Womanist and Black theologies, African American religious history, African religious studies and philosophy, African diaspora religious studies, and history of religions, this session will examine either collectively and/or comparatively their theoretical and methodological approach to the study of religion, and their contributions to the field of Africana religious studies more specifically. This session will focus on not only the legacy of their collective work and collaborations but also their forthcoming two volume collaborative project, Obeah, Orisa, and Religious Identity in Trinidad, which will be published with Duke University Press in 2022. We hope this session will also offer space to explore their scholar-sisterhood and how it not only has informed and fostered their collaborative research and writing but also how Africana religious practices, theologies, methodologies (e.g., ethnography, historical analysis, etc.) and onto-epistemologies have influenced their collegiality and their mentorship of proceeding generations in the field.
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