PLT Alum Kelly Figueroa-Ray Presents at the AAR

Transformative Scholarship and Pedagogy Unit

Kelly Figueroa-RayOn Saturday, November 23, PLT alum Kelly Figueroa-Ray of St. Olaf College will take part in a session at the American Academy of Religion (AAR) Annual Meeting in San Diego, California. The session is titled, Transgressing Borders: Immigration and Transformative Pedagogy in Religious Studies Classrooms. The theme of the session is:

In light of the Annual Meeting’s location in San Diego and the recent changes in immigration policy that serve to limit the entry of immigrants into the United States, this panel will outline transformative pedagogical strategies for teaching about the politics of immigration and Religion. The papers examine models and best practices of community-engaged learning and describe partnerships with faith-based organizations and community groups to support learning on the topic of immigration.

Professor Figueroa-Ray’s presentation is titled, Even the Cartel Members Pray: Studying Immigration through the Lens of Lived Theology. The abstract for her talk reads:

Competing and contradictory beliefs and interests propel a variety of actors each day as they attempt to cross, guard, and make peace with a line that in turn shapes their lives, relationships, communities, and in too many cases, their deaths. In this paper, I will demonstrate how a pedagogy of lived theology can introduce students to the politics of immigration by framing it first as a human issue, not merely an abstraction. Core to this pedagogy is the intersectional examination of first-hand accounts of border encounters through ethnographic fieldwork, reading memoirs, and watching films. This narrative framework is scaffolded by examination of the US-Mexico border as a racial and political construct and an introduction to relevant theological themes. Learning about immigration through the lens of lived theology challenges students to expand what Nancy Pineda-Madrid terms their “social imaginations,” by recognizing that they, too, are actors shaped by US immigration policy (2011).

Two of Kelly’s students will be presenting with her, Bronwynn Woodsworth and Maeve Atkinson. This will be a brief presentation, then a pedagogical exercise meant to lead people into lived theological analysis, then a reflection from each of the students about how this pedagogy transformed their understanding of immigration policy and their role in it.

There are two additional presentations in this session. Cassie Trentaz of Warner Pacific College will present, Crossing Borders and Raising the Stakes: Bridging Higher Education and Community Organizing to Get Real Shit Done in Real Time, a Model and Suzanne Klatt of Miami University will present, On the Borders: A Multiaxial Approach to Transformative Pedagogy on Immigration.

The session will take place from 3:30 – 5:00 pm in the Convention Center-28B (Upper Level East) with Michael Brandon McCormack, University of Louisville, presiding. For more information, please see the AAR website.

Fellow travelers are scholars, activists, and practitioners that embody the ideals and commitments of the Project on Lived Theology. We admire their work and are grateful to be walking alongside them in the development and dissemination of Lived Theology.

For more resources from our Fellow Travelers, click here. For more news from PLT, click here. Engage in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, @LivedTheology. To sign up for the Lived Theology newsletter, click here.

The Roberson Project

Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation

The Roberson Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation at the University of the South is a six-year initiative investigating the university’s historical entanglements with slavery and slavery’s legacies. This project seeks to honor Houston Roberson, a long time professor and the first African American to earn tenure at the University of the South. His teaching was devoted to the subjects of African American history and culture.

In 2009 Dr. Roberson published an essay, “The Problem of the Twentieth Century: Sewanee, Race and Race Relations,” in the University’s sesquicentennial volume, Sewanee: Perspectives on the History of the University of the South. This essay directly addressed the history of race on campus and the larger community. It was the first piece of written scholarship to tackle these subjects, and helped to change how we think about the history of this community and university.

The Roberson Project hosts events related to scholarship and social justice, confronting history to seek a “more just and equitable future for our broad and diverse community.” These initiatives are a memorial to Roberson, honoring his historic contributions to the University of the South. This initiative also seeks to create a comprehensive history of the University of the South in relation to slavery, race, and racial injustice. In addition, it will work with existing campus groups to develop curricula and programs to enrich perspectives and equitable opportunities for students.

Roberson Project

Fellow travelers are scholars, activists, and practitioners that embody the ideals and commitments of the Project on Lived Theology. We admire their work and are grateful to be walking alongside them in the development and dissemination of Lived Theology.

For more resources from our Fellow Travelers, click here. For more news from PLT, click here. Engage in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, @LivedTheology. To sign up for the Lived Theology newsletter, click here.

How Faith Shapes Social Justice: UVA Summer Internship Reports from the Field

The 2019 Summer Interns in Lived Theology will give their final presentations on Thursday, October 17 at Common Grounds, located at Rugby Rd. and Gordon Ave. in Charlottesville. The presentations will begin at 7 pm. The public is invited, and admission is free.

Zoe LarmeyZoe Larmey

Zoe (Col ’21) is majoring in political and social thought and in studio art. As a summer intern, Zoe worked at the City Seminary of New York‘s Walls-Ortiz Gallery, a non-profit space committed to creating community and conversation around art in Harlem.

 

 

Nan MarshNan Marsh

Nan (Col ’21) is majoring in english with a focus in poetry, and a minor in art history. This summer, Nan worked with Arts & Minds in New York City, an organization committed to improving quality of life for all people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias through engagement with art.

 

Kate Parker

Kate (Col ’20) is majoring in political philosophy, politics, and law. This summer, Kate worked with The Haven, which provides resources for homeless or financially struggling people in the city of Charlottesville.

The Summer Internship in Lived Theology is an immersion program designed to complement the numerous existing urban and rural service immersion programs flourishing nationally and globally by offering a unique opportunity to think and write theologically about service. For more information on this initiative, please click here.

For updates about the PLT Summer Internship, click here. We also post updates online using #PLTinterns. To get these updates please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at @LivedTheology. To sign up for the Lived Theology monthly newsletter, click here.

Witnessing Whiteness

Confronting White Supremacy in the American Church (Oxford University Press, coming spring 2020)

By Kristopher Norris

Book Description

Witnessing Whiteness is a scholarly yet accessible book that analyzes the current racial climate of American Christianity. It argues that, due to its role in the origins and proliferation of white supremacy, the white church and its theology (and theologians) have a special responsibility to work to dismantle racism. This work begins by witnessing our own whiteness, or uncovering the ways that our theology and church practices are influenced by white supremacy. The white church must then engage an ethic of responsibility to confront our racism through practices of remembrance, repentance, and reparation.

The book uncovers this responsibility ethic at the convergence of two prominent streams in theological ethics: the predominantly white witness theology and black liberation theology, specifically examining the work of the major figures of these two streams: Stanley Hauerwas and James Cone. Then, employing their shared resources and attending to the criticisms liberation theology directs at traditionalism, it proposes concrete practices to challenge the white church’s and white theology’s complicity in white supremacy.

For a preview of some of the arguments in the book, check out his article in the Journal of Religious Ethics, “Witnessing Whiteness in the Ethics of Hauerwas.”

Bio

Kristopher Norris is Visiting Distinguished Professor of Public Theology at Wesley Theological Seminary where he works for the Center of Public Theology and co-directs its National Capital Semester for Seminarians program. He received his PhD from the University of Virginia in Theology, Ethics, and Culture, as well as Masters degrees from Duke Divinity School and Candler School of Theology. He is also the author of two previous books, Pilgrim Practices and Kingdom Politics: In Search of a New Political Imagination for Today’s Church, as well as numerous articles.

 

Fellow travelers are scholars, activists, and practitioners that embody the ideals and commitments of the Project on Lived Theology. We admire their work and are grateful to be walking alongside them in the development and dissemination of Lived Theology.

For more resources from our Fellow Travelers, click here. For more news from PLT, click here. Engage in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, @LivedTheology. To sign up for the Lived Theology newsletter, click here.

Can I Get a Witness? The Podcast: Update

If you are trying to listen to our wonderful new podcast, you have likely discovered that the program disappeared from iTunes. This is a technical issue we are addressing and will be resolved soon. Thanks for your patience, and in the meantime you can still access the podcast on our site and on many other podcast platforms:

Can I Get a Witness? The Podcast

For more news from PLT, click here. Engage in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, @LivedTheology. To sign up for the Lived Theology monthly newsletter, click here.

Julian Bond Transcribe-a-Thon

By Eduardo Montes-Bradley – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

The University of Virginia is embarking on a project to make social justice and civil rights icon Julian Bond’s collection of documents accessible to the world through a crowdsourced transcription effort. #TranscribeBond is the first stage in the ultimate production of an online, digital edition.

The Albert & Shirley Small Special Collections Library, Center for Digital Editing, UVA Scholars Lab, and Virginia Humanities are collaborating on this transcribe-a-thon. A reception introducing the scope and goals of the digital project will be held at the Carter G. Woodson Institute on August 14 in room 110 of Minor Hall. On the following day (August 15) from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., registered participants will head to one of five locations on Grounds and in Charlottesville to transcribe a wide and varied sample of his papers, starting with his speeches.

Join us to contribute to this historic project by transcribing a wide and varied sample of Bond’s papers!

RSVP here

Locations:

  • The Woodson Institute, 110 Minor Hall, UVA
  • The Scholars’ Lab, Alderman Library, UVA
  • The Virginia Center for the Book at the Jefferson School, 233 4th St. NW, Charlottesville, Va.
  • Shenandoah Joe, 945 Preston Ave., Charlottesville, Va.
  • McCue Center, Virginia Athletics, 290 Massie Rd, Charlottesville, Virginia 22903

In addition to the transcribe-a-thon, UVA’s Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library will hold an exhibit of original materials related to Julian Bond. The exhibit will be held on Thursday, Aug. 15 from 12:00 pm to 2:00 p.m. in the Byrd-Morris Room of the Special Collections Library.

For more news from PLT, click here. Engage in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, @LivedTheology. To sign up for the Lived Theology monthly newsletter, click here.

Summer Internship in Lived Theology Celebrates 10 Years!

Summer 2019 interns begin work in Charlottesville and New York City

The tenth year of the Summer Internship in Lived Theology has begun. This internship sends UVA students into immersive service experiences with the unique opportunity to think and write theologically. Kate Parker (Col ‘20) will be working in Charlottesville at The Haven, a multi-resource day shelter where she will volunteer with daily operations and create a series of free, movement-based, community workshops. Nan Marsh (Col ’21) will be coordinating programming in New York City at Arts and Minds, a nonprofit which provides museum experiences for individuals living with dementia and their caregivers. Zoe Larmey (Col ‘21) will also be in New York City where she will be working at City Seminary, a seminary that seeks to develop leaders in ministry through experiential learning and applied theology. There Zoe will work with the gallery team to produce, install, and design programs around an exhibition titled “Planting for Peace.”

Kate, Nan, and Zoe mark the tenth consecutive class of the Summer Internship in Lived Theology. During the previous nine summers, students have worked domestically in Washington, DC; Richmond, Virginia; Durham, North Carolina; Oakland, San Francisco, and Charlottesville; and internationally in the countries of England, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Nicaragua, and Kenya. We have coordinated with dozens of community organizations and involved more than a half dozen UVA faculty in mentorship roles. Internship alumni have gone on to graduate studies, seminary, Teach for America, and to professions in areas of ministry, nonprofit work, nursing, community organizing, global health, finance, media, and social justice.

For updates about the PLT Summer Internship, click here. We also post updates online using #PLTinterns. To get these updates please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at @LivedTheology. To sign up for the Lived Theology monthly newsletter, click here.

 

Disrupt the Narrative

Centering African American Perspectives on Religious Freedom

On Friday, June 7, the Religious Freedom Center presents a public conversation exploring the ethics and complex politics of race and religious freedom by centering the issues, narratives, and experiences of African Americans in the United States. Disrupt the Narrative: Centering African American Perspectives on Religious Freedom is part of the Religious Freedom Center’s continuing exploration of the intersection of race and religion in the United States.

During this program, participants will hear from scholars, practitioners and community leaders who are making invaluable contributions to this critical discussion. This program is also designed to encourage participants to think through practical ways to take action around religious freedom issues in their community. Participants will engage in small group discussions, a community talkback session and explore opportunities to think through next steps together.

Speakers include Teresa Smallwood, J.D., Ph.D., director of the Public Theology and Racial Justice Collaborative at Vanderbilt University; Iva Carruthers, Ph.D., general secretary for the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference; Mandisa Thomas, president of Black Nonbelievers; Rahmah Abdulaleem, executive director of KARAMAH: Women Muslim Lawyers for Human Rights and more. The keynote speaker is Dr. Tisa Joy Wenger, author of “Religious Freedom: The Contested History of an American Ideal.”

Friday, June 7, 2019
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Knight Conference Center at the Newseum
555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.   Washington, D.C. 20001

Registration is required and open now through May 31, 2019 for the June 7 symposium. This program is free and open to the public. Seats are limited.

This program is possible due to the generous support of The Henry Luce Foundation.

David Dark Publishes Timely Book

The Possibility of America: How the Gospel Can Mend our God-Blessed, God-Forsaken Land

David Dark’s book expands on the analysis of his 2005 book The Gospel according to America. With a brilliant mix of theological, cultural, and political analysis, he assesses the current American landscape. He highlights the problems of the Trump era and the expanding political divide that has gripped American churches. Through the use of creative resources, Dark’s book is a light that shines through the darkness of our times.

David Dark is also an author on our newest book, Can I Get a Witness? Thirteen Peacemakers, Community Builders, and Agitators for Faith and Justice. In the book, he writes on the life and theology of Daniel Berrigan. His chapter is titled: “I See What I See: Daniel Berrigan’s Witness to Christ, Gospel, and Sanity Itself.” He is also featured in our podcast, which is an audio companion to the book.

Praise for The Possibility of America:

“If I prayed, I would pray for all the David Darks—all the smart, funny, thoughtful, quirky, tough-minded, well-read, culturally-engaged Christians in America—to arise and speak up. Because I know that the crabbed, mean, unthinking forms of political Christianity that I see portrayed in the media are not the whole story.”
—Kurt Andersen, author of Fantasyland

“A teacher in prisons, a believer in music, an entangler of religion and politics, a student of mundane poetry, a proponent of a new seriousness, a garroter of despair, a champion of the Beloved Community—In The Possibility of America, David Dark samples Thomas Pynchon, R.E.M., radical Baptist preacher Will Campbell, and many others, to speak truth and hope to our contemporary barnyard.”
—John T. Edge, author of The Potlikker Papers

“This revised edition of The Gospel according to America makes this prescient tome that much more salient. Dark regards America—real and imagined, secular and abidingly faithful, horrible and glorious—with a holistic gaze that holds these truths and contradictions together and examines the culture that comes from it in order to better understand just how we got here.”
—Jessica Hopper, author of Night Moves and The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic 

The Possibility of America is sharp and merciful in that it doesn’t shy away from the type of rigorous honesty and nuanced care that I have come to love and learn from every time David Dark shares his work. It is an honor to watch his conflicts and curiosities bear themselves out on the page.”
—Hanif Aburraquib, author of Go Ahead in the Rain and They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us

“This is a book built on the understanding that there is a civic imagination that imagines us into a better way of being human together. Taking Twitter, literature, poetry, music lyrics, film, television, cartoons and conversations as sacred texts, David Dark looks at the things that are held up by language: power, fear, and hatred. Dark’s work holds the hope that love is a muscle we can exercise in public—and he holds us to account for how we practice.”
—Pádraig Ó Tuama, poet and theologian

For more information on the book, click here.

David Dark is the critically acclaimed author of The Sacredness of Questioning Everything, Everyday Apocalypse, and The Gospel According to America. He teaches at the Tennessee Prison for Women and Belmont University. He has had articles published in Pitchfork, Killing the Buddha, Books and Culture, and Christian Century, among others. A frequent speaker, Dark has also appeared on C-SPAN’s Book-TV and in the award-winning documentaries, Marketing the Message and American Jesus. He lives with his singer-songwriter wife, Sarah Masen, and their three children in Nashville. You can follow him on Twitter @DavidDark.

Fellow travelers are scholars, activists, and practitioners that embody the ideals and commitments of the Project on Lived Theology. We admire their work and are grateful to be walking alongside them in the development and dissemination of Lived Theology.

For more news from PLT fellow travelers, click here. To engage in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, @LivedTheology, please use #PLTfellowTravelers. For more recommended resources from our fellow travelers, click here, #PLTfellowtravelers. To sign up for the Lived Theology monthly newsletter, click here.

Can I Get a Witness? The Podcast

Can I Get a Witness? The PodcastThis podcast is an audio companion to the book, Can I Get a Witness? Thirteen Peacemakers, Community Builders, and Agitators for Faith & Justice. In each episode of this podcast, host Shea Tuttle talks with one of our authors about the person they profiled for the book and about their writing process. These twelve podcasts are a great companion to the book, illuminating new insights and untold stories. Journey with the authors as they explain their personal connection with these witnesses and how these stories transformed their lives.

We Who Believe in Freedom: Ella Baker’s Creed

Nichole M. Flores shares her research and reflections on Ella Baker, a civil rights activist and organizer whose work in the civil rights movement focused on empowering the poor and the young.

The podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcasts!