Introducing African American Religion  book cover
1st Edition

Introducing African American Religion

ISBN 9780415694018
Published January 10, 2013 by Routledge
288 Pages

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Book Description

This book offers a creative and unique approach to the history of African American religion. Tracing what it has meant to be African American and religious within the context of the United States, it provides a vital snapshot of some of the traditions that have shaped the religious imagination of the country. Major themes and problems encountered by African Americans involved in a variety of traditions are depicted in a clear and engaging fashion.

The chapters move from the period of slavery and the early arrangement of religious thought and practice within communities of enslaved Africans to the more recent growth in the number of African American "Nones". Drawing on cultural developments such as hip hop, Anthony Pinn links the language and activities of African American religious experience to the cultural worlds in which African Americans live.

Introducing African American Religion includes illustrations, summaries, discussion questions and suggestions for further reading as well as a glossary and chronology, helping students to become familiar with the main terms of the traditions discussed and to place their development in historical context. Additional resources can be found on the companion website: 


Table of Contents

Section One: The Nature, Origins, and Historical Overview of African American Religion  1. What Is African American Religion?  2. Africans in the Americas  3. Beginnings of African American Religion  4. African American Religion in the 19th Century  5. African American Religion in the 20th Century  Section Two: Major Themes in African American Religion  6. Worldly Change, or a New World?  7. Religion, Race, and Racism  8. The Question of Gender  9. Dreams of Democracy  10. African American Religion and Economics  11. Liberation Theology  Section Three: Issues and Concerns in Contemporary African American Religion  12. Sex and Sexuality  13. Hip Hop and the New ‘Look’ of Religion  14. The New ‘Nones’.  Chronology.  Glossary.  Additional Resources.

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Anthony B. Pinn is Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies at Rice University, USA. His books include Terror and Triumph: The Nature of Black Religion (2003) and Varieties of African American Religious Experience (1999).


"An informed, very accessible text that provides a useful window into the broad sweep of African American religious life." - Larry G. Murphy, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, USA

"This is a fine text, providing historical, thematic, and contemporary portraits of African American religion. An accomplished scholar, teacher, and author, Pinn provides a comprehensive treatment including Protestantism, Catholicism, and non-Christian traditions." - Sandy Dwayne Martin, University of Georgia, USA

"Textbooks on broad topics rarely have the quality of being both lucid and engaging. Introducing African American Religion has certainly accomplished this feat, and without sacrificing any of the crucial points needed to grasp the range and scope of Black faith traditions." - Zain Abdullah, Temple University, USA

"Pinn is a major scholar who has given us a work that for the first time embraces the entire span of the African American religious experience, not simply that which is uniquely African American. As such, it highlights the complexity of that experience in its lengthy interaction both with African and American religious cultures." - Peter W. Williams, Miami University (Ohio), USA