The 2023 Winner
By Willie James Jennings
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2020
After Whiteness addresses many of the most important contemporary themes in higher education—inclusion, access, racial justice, and diversity in the academy—it does so in a truly novel way—a way that gives those of us in the academy, and especially those of us in theological education or who want to understand higher education within a Christian context, eyes to see and ears to hear. This is because Jennings roots his reflections on racial justice within a larger narrative of the academy, and in doing so sheds light on the way the contemporary academy’s goals and ideals of liberal education are marred in hidden ways by the wounds of colonialism, racism, and economic exploitation. While higher education in Jenning’s telling both liberates and forms us, these darker legacies also enslave and deform.
To enable us to see and hear, Jennings employs stories, poetry, and imagery in such a way that opens our hearts to the ways in which activities such as grading, faculty searches, and plagiarism involve practices that are complicit in this deformation but also hopeful sites of redemption. These vignettes, these stories, stick with the reader—they become opportunities for meditation, for reflection on why we think and do the things we do in higher education, and how we could rethink these activities in light of the gospel—the good news that Jesus meets those following him—the motley crowds—with love and offers them a home in which they belong. This book is meant to be read over and over again. It offers hope. It offers a path to learning—a path not just to integrating learning with faith but also towards learning that is animated by hope and love.
By James L. Heft
Oxford University Press, 2021
Kevin Hood Gary
Cambridge University Press, 2022
Todd C. Ream, Jerry Pattengale, and Christopher J. Devers., Eds.
IVP Academic, 2022