Rev. Dr. Traci C. West: Engendering Solidarity and Defiant Spirituality Among Church Leaders. The 11th Annual CLGS Georgia Harkness Lecture!

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Engendering Solidarity and Defiant Spirituality Among Church Leaders.”

In this political moment, how can scholar-activist church leaders create common understandings that undermine patterns of society-wide abuse and intra-communal betrayal, and instead deepen their solidarity with one another? What are effective ways of expressing defiance of heteropatriarchal abuser logic and white supremacy through our spiritual resources and practices? This lecture will include examples from Dr. West’s study of transnational Africana activist leadership to end gender violence.

Rev. Dr. Traci C. West is an activist-scholar who serves as the James W. Pearsall Professor of Christian Ethics and African American Studies at Drew University Theological School (NJ). Her teaching, research, and activism have focused on gender, racial, and sexuality justice, especially related to gender violence. Her major publications include Wounds of the Spirit: Black Women, Violence, and Resistance Ethics (1999), Disruptive Christian Ethics: When Racism and Women’s Lives Matter (2006), and most recently, Solidarity and Defiant Spirituality: Africana Lessons on Religion, Racism, and Ending Gender Violence (2019). She is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and an activist for full and anti-racist LGBTQIA+ equality in that denomination.

Lecture Co-Sponsor: Women’s Studies in Religion Program at the Graduate Theological Union.  

Rev. Dr. Traci C. West offered our 11th Annual CLGS Georgia Harkness Lecture online on Wednesday, 21 October 2020.


The CLGS Georgia Harkness Lecture

gharknessIn the fall of 2010 CLGS inaugurated The CLGS Georgia Harkness Lecture, the second of the Center’s two named lectures which is presented every October.  (The CLGS John E. Boswell Lecture, offered every April, was launched in 2008.)

Georgia Harkness (1891-1974) was a pioneering theologian in the Methodist tradition, a leading figure in the ecumenical movement, and the first woman hired to teach theology at a Christian seminary. Harkness focused her teaching and writing (more than thirty books and many articles) on the practical application of theology to the pressing social issues of her day, ranging from women’s rights to racism, war and peace, international relations, and, later in her life, full civil rights for gay and lesbian people. Harkness retired from teaching after serving on the faculty at Pacific School of Religion from 1949 to 1960.

The passion Harkness brought to her work of making vital theological connections among wider cultural and political issues, her keen interest in employing poetry and the arts to her theological work, and her firm commitment to civil rights and social justice — all of this contributed to PSR’s “tradition of boldness” — a tradition that shapes the ongoing work of PSR’s Center for LGBTQ & Gender Studies in Religion.