“African American Womanism and the Bahá’í Faith in Dialogue: New Approaches to the Most Challenging Issue”
Sunday, January 26, 2020
Womanism is a worldview that emerged from African American women’s culture-based belief systems and historical experiences spanning Africa and the global African diaspora. Within the last 40 years, womanist scholars have documented the manifold dimensions of this worldview and also articulated its social / environmental / spiritual movement implications for all humanity. Understanding this worldview has the potential to illuminate dimensions of the Black experience – inside and outside the Bahá’í community – that shape the contours of community life, teaching, interpersonal relations, and even our ability to make progress on the Most Challenging Issue. In this web talk, major contours of womanism will be outlined and brought into dialogue with Bahá’í themes and issues.
Layli Maparyan, PhD, is the Katherine Stone Kaufmann ’67 Executive Director of the Wellesley Centers for Women and Professor of Africana Studies at Wellesley College. She is best known for her scholarship in the area of womanism and is the author of two groundbreaking texts in the field of womanist studies, The Womanist Reader (Routledge, 2006) and The Womanist Idea (Routledge, 2012); her third book, Womanism Rising (University of Illinois Press, forthcoming), is slated for 2021. Maparyan has also published significantly in the areas of adolescent development, social identities, (including biracial/biethnic identity and the intersections of racial/ethnic, sexual, spiritual/religious, and gender identities), Black LGBTQ studies, Hip Hop studies, and history of psychology.
Maparyan’s scholar-activist work interweaves threads from the social sciences and the critical disciplines, incorporating basic and applied platforms around a common theme of integrating identities and communities in peaceable, ecologically sound, and self-actualizing ways.