Academic journal article Theological Studies

Ain't I A Womanist, Too? Third-Wave Womanist Religious Thought

Academic journal article Theological Studies

Ain't I A Womanist, Too? Third-Wave Womanist Religious Thought

Article excerpt

Ain't I A Womanist, Too? Third-Wave Womanist Religious Thought. Edited by Monica A. Coleman. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2013. Pp. xxi + 229. $24.

Grounded in the rich offerings of black feminism and womanism, Coleman's edited collection clarifies and envisions an emerging third wave of womanist religious thought. This book reframes how womanist thought challenges oppressive power structures, namely, through shifting the conversation "away from the identity of the scholar to the ideology of the scholarship" (17). While acknowledging the value of identity politics and the contributions of second-wave womanists who espouse it, C. nonetheless argues that the third wave is distinguished not only by "work that is grounded in black women's religious experiences" (18) and committed to justice and quality of life, but also by work that advances more substantial connections with the diversity of feminisms and activist struggles aimed at social transformation.

This four-part book illustrates the evolving, expanding canvas of womanist religious thought. Part I, "Religious Pluralism," begins with Debra Majeed's investigation of polygyny in African American Muslim communities; Stephen C. Finley examines the spiritual leadership of the Nation of Islam's Mother Tynetta Muhammad; and Pu Xiumei's chapter develops a womanist ecofeminist contribution based on the Chinese indigenous goddess Di Mu and Buddhism. In Part II, "Popular Culture," Damise C. Martin examines how gospel house music created an alternative sacred space for black gay men; Elonda Clay challenges the subservient roles to which black women are still relegated by the media and churches; and Ronald B. Neal argues that black males do not create black sexism and homophobia, but rather that the Abrahamic faiths have reinforced such renderings of masculinity. …

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