“Adonde Nos Lleva El Espiritu…Where Does the Spirit Take Us?”: A Theological Meditation on Afro-Dominican Women’s Understandings of Apocalypse, Afterlife, and Survival Restricted; Files Only

Rondon, Gisell (Spring 2022)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/xs55md255?locale=en


Interrogating the persistence of faith and hope in a world that often feels relentless in its implementation of cruelty, violence, and oppression is a central preoccupation of liberation theology. The juxtaposition of maintaining hope in the midst of hopelessness is specific to the positionalities of Christian Afro-Dominican women as they learn to survive and make meaning of the world through their faith and religious devotion. As we think critically of what Black liberation looks like in a fallen world, we must ask how Christian theology is tending to the needs, priorities, and concerns of Afro-Dominican women. How are Christian Afro-Dominican women building a theology and spiritual vernacular in a world that denies them their humanity and being? In this project, I argue that Afro-Dominican women’s Christian theology not only centers a practice of survival and sustenance, but also faith in a God of destruction and creation. More specifically, I contend with the nihilistic and Afropessimistic concerns and priorities of Afro-Dominican women’s theology, as well as how Afro-Dominican women’s theological imagination is providing a new language of liberation and salvation through apocalyptic visions of the destructions of the world. I derive theological insights and conceptual tools for this investigation from the works of Black and Latin American liberation, mujerista, and womanist theologians like Delores Williams and Ada Maria Isasi-Díaz, as well as black critical theorists like Calvin Warren and Christina Sharpe. Placing black critical theorists in conversation with liberation theologians allows me to explore and meditate on my project’s central intellectual pursuit through analytical frameworks that situate Afro-Dominican women existentially, spiritually and socio-historically. Through engagements with these and other scholars, I address what it means for Pentecostal Afro-Dominican women to invest faith and hope in apocalypse in order to witness the possibility of liberation through the divine. In so doing, I examine how a foundational apocalyptic understanding of the world frames their daily rituals, practices, and vernacular. As the scholarship of these authors provides the theoretical framework for my project, my research methods rely heavily on oral histories in order to document the specific vocabulary, imagination, and theory that Afro-Dominican women are cultivating in their communities.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION                                                                                                                         1

CHAPTER 1: DIAGNOSING THE STATE OF THE WORLD                                                  7


IMAGINATION OF AFRO-DOMINICAN WOMEN                                                               27


CONCLUSION                                                                                                                            46

AFTERWORD                                                                                                                             49


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