Subject Area



A reified and patriarchal form of Christianity that emphasizes “family values” – that is, adherence to the formula of a male-headed, heterosexual, capitalist, nuclear family, characterized by distinct, complementary, and hierarchical gender roles as essential to the well-being of individuals, one’s nation, and the ecumenical Church - over “community values” has become a happy bedfellow of the market system and neocolonialism, extending its reach worldwide through globalization. The result is that single mothers constitute the most economically oppressed demographic internationally across all race and ethnic categories. Using Constructivist Grounded Theory and a postcolonial feminist theological lens to collect, retell, and evaluate the stories of single mothers in cross-cultural fieldwork in both the United States and South Africa, this project will analyze the factors, theologies, and practices embodied and created by Christian single mothers that either empower social activism and collective identity or undermine the motivation and means to organize for liberating social action for single mothers.

Degree Date

Winter 12-21-2019

Document Type


Degree Name



Religious Studies


Joerg Rieger

Second Advisor

Jill DeTemple

Third Advisor

Crista DeLuzio

Fourth Advisor

Gerald O. West

Number of Pages




Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License