Race, Theology, and Pedagogy: Conversations Between Africans and Americans

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Ward Holder
St. Anselm College

Date: Wednesday, November 10, 2021
Time: Noon - 1:15pm
Location: Boisi Center, 24 Quincy Road, Conference Room 101


RSVP Required


In the Spring semester of 2021, Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire,  and Tumaini University Makumira in Usa River, Tanzania, engaged in a collaborative learning experiment about race, colonialism, and theology.  This effort was funded by grants from the Saint Anselm Fund for Catholic Social Teaching, and a Collaborative Grant from the American Academy of Religion.  The cooperating professors – R. Ward Holder at Saint Anselm and Cynthia Holder Rich at Tumaini, wished to explore how literally hearing from different voices – a goal frequently stated in liberative pedagogy but not always achieved – could affect the processes of learning about race, about theology, their interconnections, and educational outcomes. Students at the two colleges regularly interacted, both with noted theologians in webinars, and with each other on questions of race and colonialism.  The outcomes of this pilot project suggested several fruitful avenues, both in student learning and educational outcomes.  Students achieved greater understanding of colonialism and the need for decolonizing, and the manners in which theological constructs are intertwined with cultural conceptions about race; the outcomes demonstrated the importance of group work and discussion, the persistence of racialized conceptions, and the frequent rejection by dominant group students of conceptions of systemic racism.  The lecture will discuss those lessons learned, as well as avenues for further pedagogy and research.

Speaker Bio

Ward Holder

R. Ward Holder is a historical and political theologian, and professor of theology at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. He writes on the political theology, biblical interpretation, and the influence of the Reformation on later traditions. His most recent works include Calvin and the Christian Tradition: Scripture, Memory, and the Western Mind, to be published by Cambridge University Press in 2022, and the co-authored Reinhold Niebuhr in Theory and Practice: Christian Realism and Democracy in America in the Twenty-First Century, that was published by Lexington Press in 2019.

Read More

Claassens, L. Juliana, Charlene van der Walt, and Funlola O. Olojede, editors. Teaching for Change: Essays on Pedagogy, Gender and Theology in Africa. Sun Press, 2019.

Fernandez, Eleazar S., editor. Teaching for a Culturally Diverse and Racially Just World. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2014.

Frediani, Shannon. “Utilizing Pedagogy for Disrupting White Supremacy.” Religions 11 (2020): 544.

Jennings, Willie James. “Race and the Educated Imagination: Outlining a Pedagogy of Belonging.” Religious Education 112, no. 1 (2017): 58-65.

Nothwehr, Dawn M. That They May Be One: Catholic Social Teaching on Racism, Tribalism, and Xenophobia. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2008.

Scheid, Anna Floerke and Elizabeth T. Vasko. “Teaching Race: Pedagogical Challenges in Predominantly White Undergraduate Theology Classrooms.” Teaching Theology & Religion 17, no. 1 (January 2014): 27-45.

Teel, Karen. “Getting Out of the Left Lane: The Possibility of White Antiracist Pedagogy. Teaching Theology & Religion 17, no. 1 (January 2014): 3-26.

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