Amaryah Armstrong, an assistant professor in the Department of Religion and Culture, will present “Domestic Theologies: Religion and the Reproduction of Racial Order.” The special seminar, sponsored by the Department of Science, Technology, and Society, will be available livestream on Facebook on September 18 at 1:30 ET.

“Politics and theology have an intimate history and the ‘monstrous intimacies’ that structure the reproduction of race are a crucial expression of this relation,” Armstrong said. “Many scholars have examined, for instance, how modern conceptions of race are modeled on Christian ideas of chosen peoplehood, noting as well black appropriations of these claims of chosen peoplehood for a redemptive political project. Yet little attention has been given to how this sense of chosen peoplehood is animated by reproductive images, claims of kinship, and sexual economies that reveal the domestic as a crucial site in this political theological construction of racial order.

“To counter this gap,” Armstrong continued, “my presentation will place insights regarding the theological genealogy of race in conversation with black feminist theories of reproduction and technology. I show how understanding theology as a cultural practice animated by the management of reproduction illuminates race's theological dimensions — its mediation of the natural and supernatural in order to legitimate the reproduction of proper order.”

Armstrong concluded, “I will close by taking up the notions of fetal personhood as an example of the religio-racial anxieties around reproduction that positions blackness as the matrilineal inheritance of a damned status in order to shore up the redemptive ordering of modern racial existence and epistemologies.”