Grace Ji-Sun Kim, an Associate Professor of Theology at Earlham School of Religion in Richmond, Indiana (U.S.A.), shared her work on the application of the concepts of intersectionality to the study and practice of theology at a Faculty Research Seminar on Tuesday, March 12, 2019.
Professor Ji-Sun Kim began by presenting a comprehensive definition of the term “intersectionality,” a sociological theory developed primarily by black feminists.
Intersectionality, she said, serves as “a lens for understanding how gender, race, social class, identity and other forms of difference work concurrently to shape people and social institutions within multiple relationships of power.“ Her recently published book Intersectional Theology: An Introductory Guide was one of the first to apply the term to the theological world.
“Understanding in theology is often rigid. Christianity has been around for around 2000 years, and for the bulk of that time, a European way of understanding it dominated.” But that Eurocentric worldview, she explained, has been diminishing due to a variety of factors, including the rise of missionaries from the developing world—a departure from Western sources of ecumenical leadership.
Ultimately, she concluded, the purpose of applying intersectionality to theology is to gain new insights into faith, promote a more diverse and inclusive faith community, and to center social justice in the study and practice of religion.
The seminar was moderated by GU-Q professor of theology, Akintunde Akinade, and was attended by students, faculty and staff.
The GU-Q Faculty Seminars are an annual series in which GU-Q faculty and guests present research in progress and receive feedback from other faculty members. The central goal is to further faculty’s research by offering opportunities both to present ideas and to learn from the ideas of others from GU-Q, Education City, and beyond.