cover image After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging

After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging

Willie James Jennings. Eerdmans, $19.99 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-0-8028-7844-1

Theologian Jennings (The Christian Imagination) delivers a searing critique of Western Christian divinity school training and higher education overall, which he claims sustains a system of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. Weaving a powerful narrative composed of vignettes from his years as a professor and academic dean alongside his own poetry and critical analysis, Jennings challenges readers to consider that “all theological education in the Western world is haunted” by European colonialism, which “always aims to build a national and global future.” Jennings meditates on the interaction of Christian traditions within divinity schools, predominately white divinity school curricula, the imperialist nature of Western institution-building, and the potential for richer religious and educational communities that could be realized when white supremacist structures within Christianity and academe are abandoned. To do so, he asks “students, faculty, and administrators” to find “things you might all read together” (including a list of suggested reading ) and make “commitments to dialogue.” In the tradition of bell hooks and Paulo Freire, Jennings’s insightful indictment of the church and university will be an ideal choice for group discussion. (Oct.)