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Antoinette Brown Lecture with Eboni Marshall Turman

Thursday, March 23, 2017,
  • Location: Benton Chapel • 411 21St Ave S. • Nashville, TN 37240

Facing Pecola: Toward a Womanist Soteriologic of Black Girl Disrespectability

The lecture begins with an examination of the textures of black girls’ social and moral crucifixion by focusing on their respective criminalization and demonization at the hands of anti-black state-sanctioned and anti-black church-sanctioned gender terror. An exploration of the nature of suffering in the lives of black girls will follow and assert black girlhood as a theological problem to which the Black Church must be held accountable. The constructive edge of the talk finally contends that the disrespectability typically attributed to black girls in church and society is in fact a response-able and deeply embodied soteriologic.  It argues that black girl disrespectability functions as its own enfleshment of a salvific logos, that is, a black girls’ Rock, toward the end of redemptive self-love.

   Dr. Eboni Marshall Turman is assistant professor of theology and African American religion at Yale University Divinity School.

An author, ordained minister, professor, and public theologian, the Reverend Dr. Marshall Turman is a refreshing addition to our most pressing national discussions of faith, race and gender. With a decidedly womanist point of view, hers stands out as one of very few scholarly millennial voices offering moral perspective on issues facing the Black community.

Tackling the taboo topic of sexism in the Black Church, Dr. Turman owns her millennial sensibility and is unflinchingly honest in her critique of our most revered institutions. She dispels the notion of “a woman’s place” in church and society. Building upon the literary, intellectual, activist foundations of Alice Walker, W.E.B DuBois, and Ida B. Wells-Barnett in 2013 Dr. Turman published her seminal work ­ Toward a Womanist Ethic of Incarnation: Black Bodies, the Black Church and the Council of Chalcedon. The first womanist book-length treatment of conciliar tradition in relationship to black Christian life, in it she explores the sexism that pervades the black church and chips away at the moral justification for black women’s social subordination. She is currently working on her second book tentatively titled, Black Women’s Burden: Sexism, Sacred Witness, and Transforming the Moral Life of the Black Church.  Through her research and scholarship, Dr. Turman is transforming the way we frame the Black experience, the contemporary movement for Black lives, and the moral significance of the Black community ­ specifically the 21stcentury black church.