Begin with Wholeness, End with Joy
presented by Dr. Maria Hamilton Abegunde
Visiting Lecturer, Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies
Indiana University, Bloomington
Originally broadcast on Friday, November 30th, 2018
Free and open to all, with a $10 optional, suggested donation
From Dr. Abegunde: “At this moment in time, it is necessary to help students understand their lived experiences within historical and contemporary events. In the current political situation, however, this may be overwhelming; it may mean that we spend more time recounting the horrors of history and current events before we can get to the good that has been and is being done.
What if we intentionally structure our teaching with rituals of wholeness, healing, and joy; practices that help students feel connected to the powerful things that can nurture and sustain them?
Drawing on work done in my graduate level Black Feminisms class, I will share how ritual and contemplative practices help prepare and nurture students for our discussions, which could easily focus only on injustice and personal crisis. Instead, the structure of the class allowed us to be present to and for each other and to create a space of knowledge, healing, and action through the contemplative practices of journaling, deep listening, deep dialogue, and silence.”
Maria Hamilton Abegunde writes poetry because it can and does change the world. For her, writing poetry is a spiritual path that can lead to political and social action. Abegunde is an ancestral priest in the Yoruba Orisa (Oh-ree-sha) tradition, a memory keeper, healing facilitator, and Reiki Master with a focus on the recovery and healing of memory from sentient bodies. Her research and creative work focus on inter-generational trauma and community healing through contemplative and arts-based practices. Excerpts from The Ariran’s Last Life, a Middle Passage memory-work, have been published in Let Spirit Speak!, Best African American Fiction, and The Kenyon Review. Essays have been featured in The Journal for Liberal Arts and Sciences, Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora, and nocturnes. Commissioned poems are featured in Keeper of My Mothers’ Dreams, a collaborative community exhibition. Excerpts from Learning to Eat the Dead: Juba, USA, a manuscript that contemplates history, violence, and healing in South Sudan and the US, were selected as a COG poetry finalist by Juan Felipe Herrera and will be featured in an upcoming issue of Tupelo Quarterly. She is a Cave Canem, Ragdale, Sacatar, and NEH institute fellow. She is the founding director of The Graduate Mentoring Center and is a visiting faculty member in African American and African Diaspora Studies at Indiana University Bloomington.
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