“Black & Womanish: A Study of Girlhood in Womanist Pastoral Theology explores what it means to care for Black girls and what they can teach us about God’s activity in the world. I assert that caring for Black girls begins when we take their experiences seriously as a source for theology. ”
Black & Womanish: A Study of Girlhood in Womanist Pastoral Theology grapples with the many layers of Black girlhood by situating Black girlhood experiences in theological reflection. Doing so disrupts Black girlhood erasure in religion and society. This project is situated within a womanist pastoral theology for three distinct reasons. First, womanist pastoral theology, as a discipline, engages in conversations integrating theology and social sciences, which is crucial for parsing through the complexities of Black girlhood experiences theologically. Second, womanist pastoral theology invites critical methodological interpretations of lived experiences as it explores various relational aspects and intrapsychic responses in Black womanhood, which can be critically appropriated and extended to Black girlhood. Finally, womanist pastoral theology activates contextually relevant practices of care because it considers Black women’s lived experiences of race, class, gender, and theology as integral to formulating models of pastoral theology, care, and counseling. Toward that end, I, as a womanist pastoral theologian interested in Black girls and Black girlhood experiences, will conduct a mixed-methods qualitative study that (1) acknowledges “womanish” as a complex, culturally-derived term often used to describe maturing Black girls and (2) takes Black girlhood experiences seriously as a source of theological reflection. I ask, “what does it mean to care for Black girls and what can they teach us about God’s activity in the world?” Research methodology will include initial surveys and follow-up interviews, which I will analyze using Black girlhood studies, womanist theology, and attachment theory.