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Each Friday will offer a two-tiered engagement with Dr. Jennings’s work. An overview lecture in the morning will be open to all faculty, staff, and students. It will summarize in accessible fashion the highlights and insights of the book under consideration. After a break, two deep-dive workshops will take place. They will be smaller gatherings designed largely but not exclusively for faculty/administrators who read the book and pre-register. The first workshop each Friday will cover the first half of the book under consideration, and the second workshop will discuss the second half of the book. Interested individuals will be free to participate in any portion of the day’s events that happens to match their interest and availability.

Friday, Dec 4

Lecture and workshops on The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race

Full session videos coming soon

The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race: won the American Academy of Religion Award of Excellence in the Study of Religion the year after it appeared and, in 2015, the Grawemeyer Award in Religion, the biggest prize for a theological work in North America. In this book, Jennings examines the problem of race for Christianity which is, as he argues, a problem created by Christianity. This is a problem for how Christians imagine and enact social life. Through six chapters, Jennings outlines the contours of the social imagination of modern Christianity and offers a way forward beyond the racist elements clinging to parts of that imagination. The book can be read online through HBLL at ProQuest Ebook Central.


Friday, Dec 11

10:00-11:00 - Overview Lecture on After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging

12:00-1:30 - Workshop 1 on first half of After Whiteness
2:00-3:30 - Workshop 2 on second half of After Whiteness

After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging: Although just published in September, After Whiteness has already won the Publishers Weekly 2020 “Book of the Year” award. The volume examines the central problem that haunts western education and plagues theological education – the image of a white, self-sufficient man who embodies three (widely idealized, but effectively counterproductive) virtues: possession, control, and mastery. Using vignettes, poetry, and theological and cultural analysis, Jennings proposes an alternative image involving Jesus that would lend a more life-giving character to our educational endeavors and enhance our ability to nurture a spirit of belonging and communion. The book can be read online through HBLL at EBSCOhost.

Speaker Bio

Dr. Willie James Jennings is Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Africana Studies at Yale University. Professor Jennings chairs the Committee on Race and Ethnicity for the national Association of Theological Schools (ATS). He has also led a number of faculty workshops for the influential Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion and has consulted at a variety of universities and theological seminaries on graduate education. He has also lectured at more than two dozen universities in the past decade.