A Postcolonial Political Theology of Care and Praxis in Ethiopia’s Era of Identity Politics: Reframing Hegemonic and Fragmented Identities through Subjective In-Betweenness


“[This] book is a compelling pastoral theology for all those whose social identities put them on the margins or borderlands.”

-Carrie Doehring
Iliff School of Theology

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About the Book

Rode Molla argues that identity politics eliminates Ethiopians’ in-between spaces and identities and defines in-between spaces as political, social, religious, and geographical spaces that enable Ethiopians to co-exist with equity, solidarity, and justice. The elimination of in-between spaces and in-between identities creates either-or class, religious, ethnic, and gender categories. Therefore, the author proposes an in-between theology that invites Ethiopians to a new hybrid way of being to resist fragmented and hegemonic identities. Molla claims that postcolonial discourse and praxis of in-between pastoral care disrupts and interrogates hegemonic definitions of culture, home, subjectivity, and identity. On the other hand, in-between pastoral care uses embodiment, belonging, subjectivity, and hybridity as features of care and praxis to create intercultural and intersubjective identities that can co-construct and co-create in-between spaces. In the in-between spaces, Ethiopians can relate with the Other with intercultural competencies to live their difference, similarity, hybridity, and complexity.

More Reviews

In a genuine tour de force of theory as well as a moving biopic of the travails of present day Ethiopia, Molla masterfully demonstrates how identity politics functions as the latest neoliberal and neocolonial subterfuge to exploit developing countries. At the same time, her analysis contextualizes even more brilliantly how what she terms a new ‘political theology of care and praxis’ can become an effective decolonial counterforce.

— Carl Raschke, University of Denver

In her exploration of in-between spaces, Dr. Rode Molla crafts a passionate, personal, and erudite plea for the shared work needed to disrupt hegemonic and fragmented identities causing violence and suffering in her homeland. Through her creative and faithful work, she invites us all to imagine a way through polarization and dehumanization in our own contexts by designing embodied practices of care that bring healing through holding in-between spaces of connection and belonging. Dr. Molla offers a timely and courageous voice to a hurting world in dire need of political pastoral caregivers.

— Katherine Turpin, Illiff School of Theology

Publication Details 

Lexington Books
(December 15, 2022)
220 pages
ISBN-13: ‎

About the Author

The Rev. Dr. Rode Molla is an Assistant Professor, Berryman Family Chair for Children’s Spirituality and Nurture at Virginia Theological Seminary. Dr. Molla’s research and writing interests employ an interdisciplinary approach at the intersection of lived religion; the spirituality of children and families; postcolonial studies; political, intercultural, and postcolonial pastoral and practical theological methods, and critique of neoliberalism.

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Faculty Scholarship at VTS

Virginia Theological Seminary is the flagship seminary of the Episcopal Church. Founded in 1823, VTS faculty prepare leaders from around the world for both ordained and lay service in the Church. Our faculty are a diverse community of scholars who are committed to excellence in teaching and research. Through publications, public speaking, and travel, faculty engage with the wider Church and world, while shaping the next generation of theological leaders.

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