What is Misogynoir to Mishpat?
Misogynoir to Mishpat (hatred of Black women to social justice) is a research network that was formed to address the lack of Black, African descended women in religious education and religious leadership. The key role of African descended women in activism, such as voting rights, has been a key force in amplifying these otherwise overlooked voices. By lifting their religious epistemologies, or religious knowledge production, we endeavour to close this gap.
Women of African descent make up less than 1% of the religious academy as professors and lecturers. In the U.S., Black women earn, on average, $1M less than their White female counterparts by retirement – even when educational and work experience are comparable. Women of African descent are the group burdened with the highest level of student debt, and the ones most often functioning as independent scholars or in non-tenured positions.
In higher education, the priorities of academia are made plain by the thinkers we use, the people we hire to teach about those thinkers, and the rigor we assign to those thinkers. By creating a religious canon which elevates one group over another, we deny the validity of knowledge production of those who are not socially identified as White male.
As we grow, this research network will amplify the voices of African descended women by highlighting those who are recently hired or promoted within academia and religious leadership. We will also recognize those who have recently earned their PhDs in religion including but not limited to: religious studies, Christian history, history of religion, sociology of religion, theology, biblical studies and ethics. Finally, this is a space where we will share the resources or books and articles that reflect a rich epistemological resource as provided by African descended women.
This year, our theme is, “Power on the Margins: Open the Gates.” We are focusing on mentorship and the power of Black women’s religious epistemologies. We hope you will join us.