The second Annual Conference
Theme: Activism. Community. Scholarship.
The second-annual Black Religion, Spirituality, and Culture Conference shifted to a two-day conference that was held on March 22 to the 23, 2018. The conference began to take a thematic approach, weaving together Activism, Community and Scholarship, while highlighting scholarship itself as a transformative practice. The conference also included current students to present resonant work in addition to panels that brought in academics and activists.
Sankofa Awardee: Rev. Dr. Gloria White-Hammond
PANEL 1: BLACK RELIGION & SOCIAL ACTIVISM
This panel addressed critical questions: What do Black religions, spirituality, and cultural practices have to do with embodying and making justice in the world? What are the unique contributions of Black life and struggles to the transformation of social relationships and structures for a better humanity?
Panelists: Dr. Brad Braxton, Rev. Dr. Gloria White-Hammond, Karlene Griffiths-Sekou
PANEL 2: FAITH & INCARCERATION
This panel explored the genealogies of the Prison Industrial Complex and ways faith is seen or practices within the carceral state.
Panelists: Rev. Nikia Roberts, Edyson Julio, Rev. Ashley Lipscomb
PANEL 3: RELIGION, SEXUALITY & QUEERNESS
This panel will explore the discourse of Black sexuality within the frame of Black religion. Knowing that we cannot discuss Black lives without including Black LGBTQ individuals, this panel will look at the ways in which the Black church has engaged in heteronormativity and quieted Black female sexuality. It will also address the possible solutions.
Panelists: Candace Benbow, Rev. Brandon Crowley
PANEL 4: BLACK RELIGION & CULTURE
This panel addressed the critical questions for Black religion and culture in the 21st century: How does both cultural and religious spheres co-create and inform each other? Can we discuss “Black religion” without discussing “Black culture”?
Panelist: Dr. Kyrah Daniels
PANEL 5: RELIGION & WELLNESS
This panel addressed surrounded the following questions: How have religious scholars and practitioners ethically facilitated and/or hindered the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing of people? What does spiritual renewal look like within Black religious studies?
Panelist: Myisha Cherry, Kameelah Rashad
PANEL 6: POWER IN IN THE BLACK RELIGIOUS SPACE
This panel discussion explored the power dynamics present within the church, contemplating the role of the pastor, clergy, and congregants. How do these notions of power influence the church as an institution? What are the community implications?
Panelist: Dr. Carlyle Stewart III
PANEL 7: NAVIGATING IDENTITY
This panel explored how religious and Black identities are articulated outside of the dominant discourse of “Black Church.” It asked the question - How can Blackness be articulated in traditions where Black people are minoritized?
Panelists: Dr. Funlayo Wood, Imam Khalid Abdur-Rashid, Janan Graham Russell