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Public Lecture by Prof. Emerson Powery – Nov. 3 @ 4:30pm, Griffin 7: “Making Whiteness Visible”

Thu, November 3rd, 2022
4:30 pm
- 6:00 pm

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Please join Professor Emerson Powery, Croghan Bicentennial Professor of Biblical and Early Christian Studies, for his talk, “Making Whiteness Visible: Racial and Ethnic Interpretation of the Letter to the Romans,” on Thursday, November 3 at 4:30 pm in Griffin 7.


Minoritized readers often utilize the Bible as a tool for liberation, especially when those in power appropriate Scriptures in order to support the status quo or to reinforce a “law-and-order” agenda. This is no less true in academic circles. On the other hand, postcolonial critics have rightly questioned the assumption that the Bible (in general) and Romans (in particular) always offer beneficial assistance to disenfranchised people. The Bible itself is a contested site – “a site of struggle” (Sugirtharajah) – and may have little to do with liberation.

This public lecture will explore various minoritized interpretive excursions into and with the ancient apostle’s Letter to the Romans, some that center the ancient letter while others intentionally refusing to do so, centering embodied communities instead. Many racial/ethnic studies foreground identity and the body (real or imagined), the ancient ‘literary’ bodies and contemporary, ‘real’ ones. Thinking with “vulnerable” bodies can be productive. Other projects attempt to glance behind the veil (or, tear it open) to create new knowledge in order to weave a new more usable meaning for a better future for marginalized ways of being and knowing.

One thing all of these projects have in common is an attempt to speak from a different vantage point, whether the research re-centers the marginalized in ancient communities, the marginalized in contemporary communities, or the minoritized readers in contemporary scholarly circles. For good or for naught, the past is ever-present and it haunts contemporary times.

* Thank you for wearing a mask.

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