Still Mining the Forgotten: Black Catholic Women's History in the 21st Century with Shannen Dee Williams

Apr 27, 2023
Gavin House
1220 E 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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Shannen D. WilliamsUniversity of Dayton

Open to current students and faculty. Box lunches will be served. Texts will be provided. This event is co-sponsored by the Martin Marty Center for the Public Understanding of Religion. 

Despite being the world's oldest and most popular Black Christian tradition, studies of Black Catholicism remain underrepresented both within popular discourse and academic study. This is especially true in the United States. Shannen Dee Williams is one contemporary scholar working to change this. In Subversive Habits, the first full history of Black Catholic nuns in the United States, Williams sheds light on a too-often overlooked group of Black American churchwomen and freedom fighters. Her book also turns overdue attention to women's religious life as a stronghold of white supremacy and racial segregation--and thus an important battleground in the long African American struggle for freedom, justice, and human dignity.

Join us for this lunchtime seminar in which Dr. Williams will speak on the growing field of Black Catholic studies and the primary sources which have shaped her scholarship. Copies of Subversive Habits, as well as lunch, will be provided to all participants. 

Prof. Williams will give a lecture later in the evening on "America's Real Sister Act: The Hidden History of Black Catholic Nuns in the United States."



  • Subversive Habits, Introduction, Chapters 3, 5 (required)
  • "SUBVERSIVE HABITS: A book discussion with Shannen Dee Williams" in The American Catholic Newsletter (required)
  •  "I Wrote the First Full History of Black Catholic Nuns in the United States" in America Magazine (optional)