Tauran J. Webb

Instructor of Religion and Race

Director of the Center for the Church and the Black Experience


  • B.A., Morehouse College
  • M.A., Columbia University
  • M.A., Northwestern University

A Liberative Theological Imagination

To my mind, teaching in the humanities should be about both illuminating the world around us and also exploring the ways in which, for better or worse, we inhabit that world. My primary goal in teaching theology and race, and the humanities more broadly, is to guide students towards developing their own self-reflexivity, especially as they understand themselves, and others, in relation to ‘the divine.’ While the fields of theology and race are especially challenging to teach because students often hold religious beliefs and racial identities as such core components of their self-understanding—and the fields are, thus, so heavily affective—these subjects are always thought-provoking, relevant and potentially transformative. 

En route to this primary goal, my subsidiary goals consider students’ holistic learning experience:

  • Students being able to critically engage human difference (racial, ethnic, religious, gender-based, sexuality-based, ability-based etc.) from a sensibility of deep investment in learning and valuing others’ truths, opposed to a tokenistic sensibility;
  • Students being able to self-reflect on the ways in which they themselves are implicated in systems of power imbalance and oppression;  
  • Students being able to integrate anti-oppression sensibilities into their practices of spiritual discipline

Holistic learning—through valuing others’ truths, self-reflexivity, and the adoption of creative spiritual discipline practices—animate my pedagogical goals, both inside and outside of the classroom, in higher education and in activist communities. This learning theory and the methods that constitute it help illuminate the world and the complexities of a humanity within it—a project that, for me, is the bedrock of crafting a more liberative theological imagination.