Feminist theology as intercultural discourse
Feminist theology has become a global movement as women with different histories and cultures challenge patriarchal teachings and practices of the church and articulate their faith and understanding of God. Feminist theology is no more defined by the interests of middle-class European and American women and by Eurocentric frameworks and mind-set. Its scope has been much broadened to encompass the theological voices of women from the Third World and from minority communities in the United States. These newer theological partners have created new names for their theological movements, utilised new resources as theological data, challenged established norms of interpretation, and raised significant questions about the production of theological knowledge.
This chapter considers the ways in which feminist theology has been challenged by the emerging awareness of cultural diversity among women, and has creatively forged new insights in the midst of intercultural critique, dialogue, and partnership. Culture is defined by Mercy Amba Oduyoye of Ghana as 'a people's world-view, way of life, values, philosophy of life, the psychology that governs behaviour, their sociology and social arrangements, all that they have carved and cultured out of their environment to differentiate their style of life from other peoples'. 1 As the 'life-world' of a people, culture has become a site of struggle as people who have experienced colonialism, slavery, exploitation, and genocide reclaim their cultural identity and their sense of who they are after a long history of oppression. Women in these marginalised communities have to negotiate their cultural identities in multiple and complex ways, taking into consideration gender, class, race, and other differences. Cultural difference has been a focal point of contention when women debate on identity politics, the politics of 'difference', and solidarity among women across racial, cultural, and religious boundaries. Feminist theology must pay attention to how women from diverse cultural and social contexts articulate their differences as a result of culture, language, and social realities, without assuming that women's experience
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Publication information: Book title: The Cambridge Companion to Feminist Theology. Contributors: Susan Frank Parsons - Editor. Publisher: Cambridge University Press. Place of publication: Cambridge, England. Publication year: 2002. Page number: 23.
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