REA Annual Meeting 2018

Beyond White Normativity:
Creating Brave Spaces

We, as men and women of faith, are living in a time of profound conflict and crisis, not unlike other eras that we have had to face. Recent events such as white supremacist rallies in the United States, the push for a wall between Mexico and the United States, calls to close national borders to economic and political refugees, and the rise of nationalist candidates in European elections point to the fact that at the heart of this conflict is the intractable problem of white normativity, white privilege, and intolerance of “the other”.

This issue is not new to us as religious educators, though. Our field has long been engaged in this struggle through scholarship, publications, ministries and courses that address whiteness, white normativity and discrimination. But the entrenched systemic racism, intolerance and xenophobia that we are experiencing require that we continually reflect on how are we engaging our students in these issues. Are we teaching them to recognize how white privilege divides people, perpetuates inequalities, distorts one’s worldviews and prevents them from relating to one another authentically? Have we opened discussions as to how some of us have benefited from white privilege and how others have been denied such privileges? Are we encouraging our students to ask how religious educators and practitioners can work together to deconstruct white normativity, privilege and supremacy? More positively, are we creating an environment in classrooms and other learning spaces that challenges and encourages people to be authentically human, and so live in the presence of all others?

Follow the blog throughout the year and share your experiences in teaching to form such brave spaces. Also contribute to the “resources list” that is available on the REA 2018 annual meeting page – including books, articles, blogs, associations and web-based resources.

Please read the full Call for Proposals and join us for REA2018.


Contact Kathy Winings, REA Annual Meeting 2018 Program Chair, k [dot] winings [at] uts [dot] edu.