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FAITH. DIALOGUE. MOTION. ...using dialogue as a catalyst for social change.

Summer Institute: Public Theology, Racial Justice, and the Fight for Democracy

America is in a kairos moment. It is a time of immense reflection, equipping, and mobilization. The Public Theology and Racial Justice Collaborative’s Summer Institute is designed to be the gathering place for those who discern the time. We are calling all scholars, students, clergy, community activists, community organizers, politicians, concerned citizens, artists, and strategists to Nashville, Tennessee for the convening of the first cohort of what we envision to be a think tank of leaders invested in the soul of our democracy. Public theology is the lens through which we will engage the issues of our times with scholastic vigor, intense debate, sound reasoning, and measured, thoughtful engagement for the purpose of impacting our communities with the strong meta-narrative that emphasizes the inherent worth and dignity of every human being and advances the cause of racial minorities. The Summer Institute is designed as a Vanderbilt emersion experience where you will engage the life of the University, its unique landscape, its technology, and its multiple venues for learning while sharing best practices from racial justice proponents from around the country. Our aim this year is to equip participants to engage a wide public on the issues presented to racial minorities in the mid-term elections.

If you, in your community, have experienced hatred and bigotry because you are a racial or ethnic minority or if you are an advocate for those who have experienced vitriolic rhetoric, hate crimes, disdain, othering, intolerance, and discrimination, this Summer Institute is for you. We have assembled an impressive array of scholars, students, clergy, activists, community organizers, politicians, concerned citizens, artists, and strategists to share best practices, equip you to engage a wide public through media training, historical as well as political analysis, and sound theological foundation.

The Institute will run two separate tracks during this week. You may pick which track you wish to apply for admission. We will provide media training and community organizing training to all participants. Track I will focus upon “Social Trauma, Social Death.” From the brainchild of Orlando Patterson, we will delve into the intricacies of ideological sociality, which operates to divide and conquer racial minorities in this country. Track II will focus upon “The Power of Truth Telling: Stories and Practices from the Front Line.” Drawing from the seminal work of social scientist, Brené Brown, this week will focus upon what Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie calls the “danger of a single story.” This focus upon truth-telling is aimed at centering revolutionary ideals about faith and future in the age-old practice of inter-relational and communal respect for human dignity. Building upon the theme of Public Theology as a vehicle, each track will assemble the building blocks of community mapping and community assessment for maximum impact on the issues facing the plural demography of racial minorities and the political issues prominent in their quests for success.

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Jun 04 2018 - Jun 08 2018


08:00 AM - 06:00 PM

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Jun 04 2018 - Jun 08 2018
  • Time: 08:00 - 18:00

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Vanderbilt Divinity School
Nashville, Tennessee


Rev. Dr. Teresa L. Smallwood

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