Women & Theologies from the Global South, week 2

Postcolonial Discourse and Feminist Theologies from the Global South

Welcome back! If you are joining us for the first time I encourage you to check out the Introductions post that explains this series’ backbone.

The assignment: “We will begin each class session promptly with a morning ritual.  Studying written texts is a very new thing to most women from the Global South, and ritual was one of the important ways of learning and community building, and knowledge/wisdom transmission for them.  We will practice this as a community of learners and teachers in our class. I encourage you to lead at least one ritual this quarter based on your own primary community’s practices, hopefully in conversation with the day’s reading/theme.” -Rev. Dr. Boyung Lee

Ritual grounds theory into praxis. This was the first week the ritual was led by a student. Jen centered the room with her presentation which included the following texts. It’s a cool experience to hear a poem. I recommend reading out loud to yourself, a friend, or an amicable plant:

MARGINAL WISDOM – Rev. Leslie Takahashi
They teach us to read in black and white.
Truth is this—the rest false.
You are whole—or broken.
Who you love is acceptable—or not.
Life tells its truth in many hues.
We are taught to think in either/or.
To believe the teachings of Jesus—OR Buddha.
To believe in human potential—OR a power beyond a ­single will.
I am broken OR I am powerful.

Life embraces multiple truths, speaks of both, and of and.
We are taught to see in absolutes.
Good versus evil.
Male versus female,
Old versus young,
Gay versus straight.

Let us see the fractions, the spectrum, the margins.
Let us open our hearts to the complexity of our worlds.
Let us make our lives sanctuaries, to nurture our many identities.

The day is coming when all will know
That the rainbow world is more gorgeous than monochrome,
That a river of identities can ebb and flow over the static, stubborn rocks in its course,
That the margins hold the center.

Jesus. Never had to go to seminary.
He was wunderkind.
He never had cerebral palsy; He died
Once though. Jesus never had a broken
scooter, but over and over, he had a
broken heart. Me too, once or twice.
Sometimes I think I won’t
Make it, can’t do it. About that, Jesus said:
It takes more than bread
to stay alive. It takes a steady stream
of words from God’s mouth.”
God’s words for me are:
the sunset, the boats on the lake,
the perfection of all the ways God
is reflected in Beloved Community.
Jesus. Did the work that fell to Him
Until It Was Finished. I don’t even
Have to die to complete my work,
But maybe I can hold on for one
More day. Maybe that would be good.

The citations this week include video annotations, which may or may not related to the reading. Multimedia research humanizes the authors by seeing their theologies and philosophies through another perspective.

Kwok Pui-lan, “Searching for Wisdom: Sources of Postcolonial Feminist Theologies,” in Postcolonial Imagination and Feminist Theology (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2005), 52-76.

Cheryl Johnson-Odim, “Common Themes, Different Contexts: Third World Women and Feminism,” in Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism, ed. Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Ann Russo, and Lourdes Torres (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1991), 314-27.

Musa Dube, “Toward a Post-Colonial Feminist Interpretation of the Bible,” in Hope Abundant, 89-102.

Leela Gandhi, “Postcolonialism and Feminism,” in Postcolonial Theory: A Critical Introduction (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998), 81-101.

Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin, “General Introduction,” in The Post-Colonial Studies Reader (New York: Routledge, 1995), 1-4 & 117-18.




Week 2 was a deeper introduction to the terms. Taking courses in theology or philosophy courses can feel like walking into a longstanding conversation. It takes time to catch up on what has already been done and said in order to understand what scholars are saying now.

Defining the terms. Good luck reading my handwriting

We considered the impacts of neoliberal globalization projects (like Coca-cola in South America).
The lecture was very
of the Northern myth of independence.img-2045-e1538183193827.jpgTo discuss the work of one post colonial thinker is to discuss the work of several people at once. Post colonial studies tend to be multifaceted and interdisciplinary. Here are some of the other professors, activists, and thinkers whose theories, writings, and actions help define this field of thought

Gayatri Spivak

Edward Said

Homi Bhabha

Trihn Mihn-ha

Yii-Jan Lin

Thanks for reading,
Emily Nagle

Photography by Seth Nagle

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