Blackness, Whiteness, and Anabaptist Racialization

Monday, February 8, 2021

Bechtel speakers graphicHistory, identity, faith, and culture. The Bechtel Lectures in Anabaptist-Mennonite Studies provide the opportunity to explore topics related to these four key themes in relation to Mennonites. Conrad Grebel University College is pleased to continue the annual tradition of hosting these presentations in a new virtual format. To support and celebrate Black History Month in Canada, the 2021 Bechtel Lecture, “Blackness, Whiteness and the Anabaptists ‘Imagined Community’ in Print and Missionthat will be presented on March 11 at 7:00pm, will focus on the racialization of Anabaptists as reflected in print, social interactions, and mission activity. This is the first year the lecture’s benefactor, Lester Bechtel, will not be in attendance as he passed away on January 24.

Grebel will welcome Dr. Timothy Epp to present the virtual YouTube lecture after an enlightening musical performance by Diana Braithwaite. Dr. Timothy Epp is associate professor of Sociology at Redeemer University and is known for his thought-provoking publications on Mennonites and blackness, as well as his deep research in relation to Anabaptists and racial identity. In addition, among Professor Epp’s broad range of research interests are the discourse of spirituality in popular music, and the concept of personhood in relation to dementia care. He has published intriguing articles and papers where he shares his knowledge on these subjects.

“Attendees to this year’s Bechtel Lecture in Anabaptist-Mennonite studies will undoubtedly find Dr. Timothy Epp’s presentation, stemming from many years of research, fascinating and illuminating,” said Grebel Professor Marlene Epp. “Conrad Grebel needs to encourage research and learning about Mennonite interactions with Black communities and about Mennonites’ own histories of racism.”

Diana Braithwaite is an internationally renowned jazz and blues vocalist who beautifully expresses life stories through her enchanting and unique blues style. She was born in Toronto as a descendant of the Wellington County pioneers in Canada, and growing up she spent her summers in a historic African-Canadian neighbourhood known as “Little Burgundy.” With her life experiences and passion to share stories with the world, Braithwaite has been recognized for her musical talents and has won both national and global music awards.

Dr. Timothy Epp and Diane Braithwaite will make this year’s Bechtel lecture a special one. Through Braithwaite’s captivating life stories told by song and the illuminating words of Professor Epp, the community will learn the important history of blackness and Anabaptist racialization.

The event will premiere via YouTube on March 11 at 7:00pm and is available to view without cost or registration. However, the virtual Q&A to follow the lecture will require registration in order to participate.

Written by Jace Jaeden Ellis

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