Special Issue "“My Soul Is A Witness”: Reimagining African American Women’s Spirituality and the Black Female Body in African American Literature"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 February 2019)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Carol Henderson

Department of English and Africana Studies, University of Delaware, 116 Hullihen Hall, Newark, DE 19716, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: English, Black American studies, African American studies, literature, gender, film, pop culture, spirituality, diversity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Katherine Clay Bassard declares nearly twenty years ago in her formative text Spiritual Interrogations, that in order to more fully consider the ways black women have spiritually represented themselves in African American literature, one must consider a variety of religious traditions that shape their religious experiences including Christianity, Islam, African and neo-African traditional, among others. More importantly, this practice of reading black women’s intertextuality (what she terms spiritual interrogation) structures visions of reading that provide a richer understanding of the ways in which the sacred and secular, the spiritual and political, become a lens through which to see African American female subjectivity in all of its nuanced complexity.

This special issue seeks to explore the ways in which writers reclaim the black female body in African American literature using the theoretical, social, cultural, and religious frameworks of spirituality and religion. Of key importance to this collection is black women’s agency—acknowledged and affirmed in prose, poetry, essays, speeches, written plays, or short stories. Whether it is Indigo (Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo) creating a world with her dolls that shepherds her through her rite of passage to womanhood, or Baby Suggs declaring in her “fixing ceremonies” in the Clearing that “in this here place, we flesh,” (Beloved), authors have sought to discuss the tensions of the sacred and secular through concepts such as forgiveness, redemption, passion, alienation, motherhood, sex, marriage, among others.

Prof. Dr. Carol Henderson
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charges (APCs) of 550 CHF (Swiss Francs) per published paper are partially funded by institutions through Knowledge Unlatched for a limited number of papers per year. Please contact the editorial office before submission to check whether KU waivers, or discounts are still available. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • spirituality
  • Black/African theologies
  • religions
  • identity
  • gender
  • black body
  • sacred
  • secular
  • race
  • embodiment
  • cultural affirmation

Published Papers

There is no accepted submissions to this special issue at this moment.
Religions EISSN 2077-1444 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert Logo copyright Steve Bridenbaugh/UUA
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