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HTS Theological Studies

On-line version ISSN 2072-8050
Print version ISSN 0259-9422


URBANIAK, Jakub. A white theologian learning how to fall upward. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2022, vol.78, n.3, pp.1-9. ISSN 2072-8050.

As a theologian coming from Europe, a 'postcolonial import' into South Africa, it is my white privilege in particular that continues to queer my understanding of a social revolution on which our future, as a people, may depend. In this article, I seek to turn my personal experience of grappling with my whiteness into the source of my reflection. Drawing inspiration from fallism - a recent student movement that inscribes itself into a larger decolonial 'struggle against the globalised system of racist capitalism' - I ponder what it could mean, in the South African context, for whiteness to fall upward (Rohr). Here, the metaphor of 'falling upward' as a kenosis of whiteness is considered specifically with regard to a white theologian's (my own) attempt to open spaces that could be filled with blackness. CONTRIBUTION: This auto-ethnographic essay inscribes itself into a transdisciplinary study of theology and race from both socio-cultural and religiospiritual perspectives. The author's personal reflections, inspired by his own engagement with the fallist narratives and his ever-evolving attitude towards the blackness-whiteness binary, as experienced in the South African social and academic contexts, are shared as a means to crack open the societal and theological (notably Christian) imagination, both of which appear to suffer from a serious crisis

Keywords : whiteness; blackness; race; fallism; theology; South Africa; kenosis.

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