Dr. Jawanza Eric Clark: An Africana Response to the Urgency of Black Social Death and Ecological Devastation

Oblate School of Theology

Originally Published on the website of Oblate School of Theology

September 24 @ 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM $15.00

Sept 24 | 9:00AM – 12:00PM Central Time | IN-PERSON AND ONLINE OPTIONS AVAILABLE

September 2022 Sankofa Institute for African American Pastoral Leadership Workshop

In this lecture, Dr. Jawanza Eric Clark will argue that African spirituality provides the necessary paradigm shift to bridge the gap between Black theology and Ecotheology as Western projects for liberation.  Dr. Clark will also engage the arguments of AfroPessimism to make a case for the inadequacy of certain Christian theological symbols and the persistence of Black social death in America.

The presentation is sponsored by Sankofa Institute for African American Pastoral Leadership.


Dr. Jawanza Eric Clark is Associate Professor of Global Christianity at Manhattan College in the Bronx, NY.  Dr. Clark is a native of Atlanta, GA, and is the son of Isaac Clark, Jr. and Yvonne Ragsdale.  He holds a B.A. in English from Morehouse College (1997), a M.Div. from Yale Divinity School (2000), and a Th.M (2003) and Ph.D. (2008) in Religion from Emory University.  From 2008-2012, Dr. Clark taught full-time as a Lecturer in the Religious Studies department at Spelman College in Atlanta.  At Spelman, he taught Black Theology, Womanist and Feminist Theologies, Introduction to the Study of Religion, and The History of the African-American Church.  Since 2012, he has taught at Manhattan College in The Bronx, NY.  There he teaches Theologies of Liberation, Black and Womanist theologies, Introduction to Religious Studies, Philosophy of Religion, African Christianity, and Postcolonial African Thought.  Dr. Clark also taught as an adjunct professor at Union Theological Seminary, where he taught Systematic Theology, to help begin to fill the tremendous hole left by the passing of the great James Hal Cone.  Additionally, Professor Clark is heavily involved in study abroad teaching.  He has organized study abroad courses in Ghana, West Africa and in South Africa where he taught South African Black Theology and Postcolonial African Christianity.

Dr. Jawanza Eric Clark has published two books among other book chapters and articles.  His first book, Indigenous Black Theology, is a work of comparative and constructive theology that incorporates the African notion of ancestor in the development of a new Black theology for black churches.  A reviewer stated, “It is an important book in Black Theology, because it is the first systematic integration of African traditions to reconstruct three Christian doctrines: the human being, Jesus, and salvation.”  It asks black churches to make African spirituality central to the development of black church theology today.  His second book, Albert Cleage Jr. and the Black Madonna and Child, is an edited book that both celebrates and critically evaluates the legacy of Albert Cleage Jr., a black theologian, who unveiled a mural of a black Madonna and child more than fifty years ago and helped launch the Black Power movement in America.  This work asks us to reconsider the value and efficacy of Cleage’s black liberation theology in the 21st century.  His third book is in production currently with Orbis Books and will be published later this year.  It is titled Reclaiming Stolen Earth: An Africana Ecotheology.  Clark argues that the problem of impending ecological devastation cannot be solved without a repudiation of the whiteness, and white theology that created it.  This means naming and rejecting white epistemological hubris, which objectifies the land and misunderstands the spiritual potency of nature, and creating space for formerly colonized and oppressed perspectives to inform our response to ecocide and make their contribution to the restoration of the Earth.

Dr. Clark is a member of the American Academy of Religion Conference where he is the co-chair of the Black Theology Unit.  He is also an executive board member of the Society for the Study of Black Religion and a member of the Board of Directors at the Shrines of the Black Madonna of the Pan African Orthodox Christian Church where he also formerly pastored for five years.

Dr. Clark is married to Jennifer Neal Clark, Esq. and they have two children, Jeremiah M. Clark (16) and Jordan O. Clark (11).


Individuals can register to participate online, via Zoom Webinar, or in person, on the OST campus/WTC 101.

To Participate Online: $15     ONLINE WEBINAR REGISTRATION

Please note that this presentation will not be available for viewing at a later time. We look forward to having you join us live.

To Participate In-person: $15 (Please Register in the “Tickets” Section Below)

In-person participants are encouraged to bring a light jacket or shawl, a writing pad and pen, and a reusable water bottle and/or coffee mug. 

Please note that this presentation will not be available for viewing at a later time. We look forward to having you join us live.

For information or to register by phone, contact Associate Registrar, Victoria Rodriguez, at vrodriguez@ost.edu or (210) 341-1366 EXT 240.