In this course, participants will explore indigenous ways of framing gender and sexuality from cultures around the world and the impact of European settler-colonialism, imperialism, white supremacy, capitalism, and cisheteropatriarchy as well as rainbow flag imperialism on those cultures’ today. We will unpack and critically discuss the underlying ontological (i.e., sense of reality) and axiological (i.e., values) that support these examples for what they can tell us about the cultures that produced them. Using applied theatre techniques, breathwork, meditation, and ritual practices, participants will also examine the impact these dynamics have had on their framing of their own gender/sexuality and how they understand their Self. Through their participation in the course, students will be more aware of the limits of their knowledge and prepared to explore the topic of gender and sexuality from a cross-cultural, decolonial framework.
H. “Herukhuti” Sharif Williams, PhD, MEd (she, he, they, her, his, their) is an internationally recognized thought leader in the areas of decoloniality and sacred sexuality. They are a bodeme in the tradition of the Dagara people of Ghana and Burkina Faso and therefore respond to all pronouns. Bodeme are caretakers of indigenous knowledge and wisdom traditions who exist outside of the gender binary of male/female and the sexual binary of straight/gay. She is also a high priest in the Kemetic (ancient Egyptian) tradition, sacred whore, and caretaker of the Shrine of Sekhmet and Heruhet. In addition to being a scholar-practitioner in those traditions, Dr. Herukhuti draws upon the arts, social sciences, performance studies, and cultural studies in his research—using a variety of methods including narrative/storytelling, autoethnography, close readings of media, literary criticism, Theatre of the Oppressed, oral history interviewing and critical theory. They are currently a core faculty member in the BFA in socially engaged art program at Goddard College and an adjunct associate professor in the graduate program in applied theatre in the School of Professional Studies at City University of New York (CUNY). At Goddard College, he co-founded the world’s first sexuality studies program dedicated to promoting decolonizing sexuality and challenging the whiteness and Eurocentricity of the field.