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Blue tights, dancing into a life of her own facilitating embodied spirituality for African American adolescent girls

Author: Deborah Johanna Buchanan
Publisher: 2008.
Dissertation: Thesis (Ph.D.)--Fuller Theological Seminary, School of Theology, 2008.
Series: Fuller Theological Seminary; theses
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : Manuscript   Archival Material : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
In this project I argue that dance, in the context of Christian community, may assist African American adolescent girls in transcending tri-dimensional oppression. Specifically, dance fosters affirmation, community, and agency and aids in moving girls towards embodied spirituality. Methodologically, in the womanist tradition, theological discourse often includes the use of autobiographical and fictional literature  Read more...
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Details

Named Person: Rita Williams-Garcia
Material Type: Thesis/dissertation, Manuscript
Document Type: Book, Archival Material
All Authors / Contributors: Deborah Johanna Buchanan
OCLC Number: 233228425
Description: 187 leaves ; 28 cm.
Series Title: Fuller Theological Seminary; theses
Responsibility: written by Deborah Johanna Buchanan.
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Abstract:

In this project I argue that dance, in the context of Christian community, may assist African American adolescent girls in transcending tri-dimensional oppression. Specifically, dance fosters affirmation, community, and agency and aids in moving girls towards embodied spirituality. Methodologically, in the womanist tradition, theological discourse often includes the use of autobiographical and fictional literature by and about African American women. In this dissertation, I employ this tradition through the use of the novel Blue Tights by Rita Garcia Williams, which serves as a dialectical source for constructing a theology that engages African American adolescent girls through dance. In order to provide a theological framework for artistic engagement with African American adolescent girls, I argue that such engagement is best served when grounded in agency, narrative and presence. Agency is an inherently moral commitment to individual and communal well-being. Narrative creates a framework where stories of African American girls may be heard and helps girls to understand their significance in the gospel story. Finally, presence suggests that other become the instrument through which one can experience God's loving care and intervention. Next, I examine the interconnected nature of spiritual, religious, moral and physical development--particularly for African American adolescent girls. I identify assets found within the African American tradition that assist the spiritual development process. These virtues emphasize creativity and community as significant strengths which help African American adolescent girls through the challenging metamorphosis of adolescence. After examining adolescent spiritual development, I explore how God's Spirit is revealed in dance. The Ring Shout, a dance with African retentions, which was practiced during slavery, points to three aspects of African American religion that contribute to an understanding of general revelation. These are the lack of a sacred/secular dichotomy, the priority of community in spiritual practice, and the centrality of freedom and justice. Finally, I move from the theory to praxis by listening to the voices of girls who participated in a Christian community dance program. The girls identified spiritual, communal and personal benefits from their participation in Christian community dance programming.

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