Spiritual activism through storytelling: Derrick Bell and womanism
The purpose of this thesis is to address the connections between Derrick Bell's critical race theory and the theory of womanism as articulated by Layli Maparyan. I will examine the impact of storytelling in addressing issues of social oppression, specifically race, class, and gender. Through this examination, I will explore the fictional legal storytelling of Derrick Bell for evidence of womanist influence. I will construct an argument that builds on both critical race theory and womanist theory to propose new directions for social justice scholarship in both women's studies fields and critical race theory, and the application of these disciplines to everyday people. When these theories are put into conversation with one another, Bell's CRT and Maparyan's womanism may be consolidated for new ways of writing and theorizing that will advance the theoretical goals of critical race theory, womanism, and women's studies scholarship more generally. My methodology will be a comparative literary analysis of Bell and Maparyan. The connections and themes that emerge will investigate the potential of both spirituality and storytelling for the examination of new methods of social justice writing and activism.