(Pittsburgh, PA, March 12, 2009) The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) has announced the recipients of the Lilly Theological Research Grants for 2009-2010. Supported by a grant from Lilly Endowment, the ATS Lilly Theological Research Grants program is in its twelfth year. There are four types of grants-Faculty Fellowships (grants of $30,000 during a leave), Theological Scholars Grants (grants up to $12,000 each for research apart from formal research leave), Research Expense Grants (grants up to $5,000 for those engaged in research projects), and Collaborative Research Grants (grants of up to $16,000 to support research by teams of scholars). A total of 24 grants were awarded.
Emmanuel Yartekwei Lartey, Professor of Pastoral Theology, Care and Counseling at Candler School of Theology of Emory University, was awarded a 2009-10 Lilly Faculty Fellowship for the project, Postcolonializing God: A Postcolonial African Pastoral Theology.
In the first part of the research, Lartey plans to explore the notion of God as "decolonizer." Biblical (e.g. Gen. 11 and Acts) and Christian mission historical documents (understood as having both colonizing and decolonizing features) will be examined to unearth and interpret records of what may be described as decolonizing activities of God-the God whose creative activities promote postcolonial social conditions. The purpose of the study is to provide for churches new readings of Biblical, historical, and theological material that challenge and disrupt hegemony and dominance, encourage diversity and hybridity, and normalize multiple perspectives.
The second part of the research will utilize postcolonial theories to reflect upon the social and religious practices of selected Christian communities in the United States and United Kingdom that are comprised largely African immigrants. Lartey will explore the Christianities of these postcolonial peoples to discover how God is "postcolonialized" through their activities within the locales from where dominance was historically exported. This work will challenge a facile identification of oppression with the "West" and victimhood of the "rest." It will argue for more nuanced readings that have the potential to encourage the "dominant" and "the oppressed" to work together towards a richer and more diverse church and world community.