New York, New York

FEMINIST THEORY FOR SPIRITUAL LEADERS 
(Fall 2019)

Resisting White Nationalism Workshops

In Trump's news cycle, Islamophobia is being used in service of antisemitism, and it is all a system fueled by white, patriarchal Christian state power. It is not a new system, but it is one that requires multiple tools of analysis in order to dismantle. It is a system that is breeding the rising violence of white ethno-nationalism.

"Resisting White Nationalism" workshops are a series for clergy, spiritual leaders, community educators, and inter-faith leaders to gain tools to analyze effects of white Christian state power. We especially center the analysis feminist activists and writers did in the 1980s on these issues to re-think the historical moment in which we find ourselves.

 

Workshops weave religious and theological studies with feminist texts and histories of coalition building. The course material was carefully designed to offer sustained study across a range of academic areas often not read together—including ethnic studies, Black studies, Jewish cultural studies, theological studies, and feminist studies.

Writers like Barbara Smith, A.J. Levine, Adrienne Rich, Ella Shohat, Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz, Laura Levitt, Jonathan Boyarin, and Carol Conaway will help us hold space for listening more deeply across history. Through this interdisciplinary approach to social justice questions, we find expansive tools to address contemporary concerns.

 

 

 

The design of these workshops is scholarly but also about more than just academic engagement. The path of textual study and holistic contemplation is a holding space for transformations, creativity, and embodied knowledge to emerge and be supported.  Our goal is to practice learning methods that connect mind, body, heart, and spirit. Our greatest intention is to send ripples of healing from a place of depth, anchored to a spirit of interconnection across history and communities. 

Key Questions of the Workshops

  • How are antisemitism, Islamophobia and modern racism the violent products of a form of patriarchal Christianity wedded to state political power?

  • What is historically distinct about antisemitism from other forms of modern racism?

 

  • What are the connections between a long history of Christian theological anti-Jewishness and racial forms of antisemitism that emerged in “secular” contexts? (“Secular” is in quotes because the power structures were still dominated by Christian cultural dominance.)

 

  • How do communities come together and stand with one another against these injustices? What have feminist attempts at building coalitions looked like in the past? How were they generative amidst conflict and impasse? And why is this history of women's relational labor across communities so often overlooked in how we tell the stories of historical change?

 

  • If all injustice is linked, what does that mean for how we practice presence with one another as we try dismantle the very conditions that allow communities to come to be so divided?