Prof. Kendra G. Hotz Publishes Article on the Language of Faith Among African American Women

Dr. Kendra G. Hotz, assistant professor of religious studies at Rhodes, has published "'Big Momma Had Sugar, Imma Have It Too’ -Medical Fatalism and the Language of Faith Among African American Women in Memphis” in the Journal of Religious Health, Volume 53, No. 5.

Drawing on the work of black and womanist theologians and on conversations with participants in a diabetes intervention program administered by a faith-based community health provider, Hotz argues that how individuals narrate the meanings of their bodies is irreducibly religious.

“The language we use to interpret and communicate the meaning of our bodily existence emerges from a set of assumptions, often unarticulated, about what is of ultimate value to us,” according to her. “The essay focuses on three interlocking features that link faith with fatalism or hope: (1) The idea that if ‘I don’t claim that,’ disease cannot enter my body; (2) the role of faith-based clinics in re-establishing trust with marginalized communities; and (3) how nuanced attention to the social location of health seekers can re-frame our understanding of patient compliance. Disrupting fatalism can only be done from within a health seeker’s own narrative, and therefore, healthcare providers who learn these narratives and respect their holiness will develop more effective interventions.”

Hotz is director of the urban and community health concentration in Rhodes’ Urban Studies Program and a member of the Program Committee for Africana Studies. In addition, she is a theologian-in-residence at the Church Health Center located in Memphis and Senior Scholar in Religion and Ethics in the Center of Excellence in Faith and Health at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare.