Session II: “Race in the Empire” – Nekeisha Alexis-Baker, Carl Stauffer

#Occupy Empire: Anabaptism in God’s Mission

Nekeisha Alexis-Baker offers a lecture, “Race, Racism, and the Nation-State,”  followed by a response by Carl Stauffer.  A native Trinidadian and long-time New Yorker, Nekeisha Alexis-Baker currently calls Elkhart, Indiana her home.  She received her BA with a major in African Studies from New York University, and her MA in Theological Studies with a conceentration in theology and ethics from Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary.  She now serves AMBS as both graphic designer and chair of the learning community’s anti-racism team.  Nekeisha’s interests include ethical treatment of nonhuman animals from a Christian/womanist perspective, and the intersection of anarchist politics and Christian faith.  She is the co-founder of the Jesus Radicals network and co-organizer of the group’s website and annual gathering.  Her forthcoming publications include “Keeping the Devil Down: The Church on the Wire” in Corners in the City of God: Theology and The Wire (Wipf and Stock, 2012) and “Doesn’t the Bible say that Humans are More Important than Animals?” in A Faith Embracing All Creatures (Wipf and Stock, 2012).

Carl Stauffer is assistant professor of development and justice studies at EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding.  He is also the Director of the Caux Scholars Program in Caux, Switzerland.  For 15 years prior to coming to EMU, Dr. Stauffer worked in leadership for peacebuilding, justice, and development initiatives in 20 countries across Africa, focusing on the application of transitional justice and developmental approaches to conflict prevention and post-violence reconstruction and reconciliation efforts.  He has worked with truth commissions, indigenous justice programs, and ex-combatant reintegration processes.  Carl also brings North American domestic experience as a pastor working at development projects in disadvantaged urban communities and as executive director of a Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program.  Dr. Stauffer holds a Ph.D. from KwaZulu Natal University in South Africa and an MA in Conflict Transformation from Eastern Mennonite University.

Conference planners Brian Gumm and Aaron Kauffman describe the conference in this way:

“Anabaptism at its best has been a series of attempts both to live into God’s in-breaking occupation and to faithfully occupy the empires of this fallen age, signaling the shalom to come. Anabaptists have gone about this work by imaginatively patterning their worship and witness after the New Testament communities of Jesus. Come explore ways in which the Anabaptist tradition can help inspire faithful occupation in today’s world. Interdisciplinary academic presentations will be infused with worship and testimonies to open our minds and spirits to where God is calling us into mission in the midst of empire.”