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Mitchem speaks at SMC

Ashley Dyer | Friday, October 3, 2003

Saint Mary’s annual Women and Religion Luncheon was held Wednesday and highlighted Stephanie Mitchem’s presentation, entitled “Womanist Theology,” which discussed the incorporation of black women’s experiences and lives holistically within theology.

Mitchem, who is from the University of Detroit Mercy, said the womanist theologian’s primary goal is to first strengthen the voice of the black woman, which will, in turn, strengthen the black community.

The second goal is to create a theology that is used as a tool to liberate all people regardless of race, gender or class.

“The intersection of race, gender and class together shape African-American women’s lives,” Mitchem said.

Womanist theologians focus on exposing and dissecting these points, in hopes that key areas of oppression will gradually fade and eventually be eliminated.

Faith as well as hope, Mitchem said, was also incorporated when defining womanist theology.

Mitchem said she began developing her own insight into womanist theology while pursuing degrees in ethics, theology and history

While reflecting on her own journey in developing her spirituality, Mitchem said she feels womanist theology has deepened her faith.

It made the connection between the study of theology and its practice in her life as a black woman.

Mitchem said she feels as though she takes action through her work as a professor and the effect she makes while engaging students with dialogue.

Making connections between subject matter whether history, ethics, theology, ethnography or medicine and womanist theology liberates students she said.

By liberating students, womanist theologians are taking steps towards achieving their secondary goal in liberating everyone she said.