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Religions 2018, 9(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9010017

The Canonical Black Body: Alternative African American Religions and the Disruptive Politics of Sacrality

Department of Religious Studies and Program in Africana Studies, Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA
Received: 17 November 2017 / Revised: 1 January 2018 / Accepted: 3 January 2018 / Published: 9 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Race and Religion: New Approaches to African American Religions)
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Abstract

“The Canonical Black Body” argues that central to the study of African American religions is a focus on the black body and the production and engagement of canons on the sacred black body within the black public sphere. Furthermore, this essay suggests that, by paying attention to alternative African American religions in the twentieth century, we can better engage the relationship between African American religion and the long history of creating these canons on the black body, debating their relationship to black freedom, and circulating the canons to contest the oppressive, exclusive practices of modern democracy. Through a critical engagement of the fields of Black Theology and New Religious Movements and using the resources offered by Delores Williams’ accounts of variety and experience and Vincent Wimbush’s category of signifying, this essay will argue for how a return to the body provides resources and tools for not only theorizing African American religions but thinking about the production and creation of competing black publics, including the important role of alternative black sacred publics. View Full-Text
Keywords: alternative religions; Black Theology; African American religions; black body; womanism; black public; canon; scripture alternative religions; Black Theology; African American religions; black body; womanism; black public; canon; scripture
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Tucker Edmonds, J.L. The Canonical Black Body: Alternative African American Religions and the Disruptive Politics of Sacrality. Religions 2018, 9, 17.

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