Religion, Culture and Spirituality in Africa and the African Diaspora explores the ways in which religious ideas and beliefs continue to play a crucial role in the lives of people of African descent. The chapters in this volume use historical and contemporary examples to show how people of African descent develop and engage with spiritual rituals, organizations and practices to make sense of their lives, challenge injustices and creatively express their spiritual imaginings.
This book poses and answers the following critical questions: To what extent are ideas of spirituality emanating from Africa and the diaspora still influenced by an African aesthetic? What impact has globalisation had on spiritual and cultural identities of peoples on African descendant peoples? And what is the utility of the practices and social organizations that house African spiritual expression in tackling social, political cultural and economic inequities? The essays in this volume reveal how spirituality weaves and intersects with issues of gender, class, sexuality and race across Africa and the diaspora. It will appeal to researchers and postgraduate students interested in the study of African religions, race and religion, sociology of religion and anthropology.
Table of Contents
1 Introduction: Mapping Religious Expressions and Spirituality of African Descendant Communities, William Ackah; Section 1: Religious Expressions, Traditions and Identities; 2 Church Women’s Legacy of Power: Case of U.S. African Methodist Episcopal Church, Jualynne E. Dodson; 3 Blacksmith’s Razor and the Vulture’s Head: African Spirituality and the Emancipation of Africa, Kofi Asare Opoku; 4 A Tale of Two Worlds: An Early Nineteenth Century Encounter between the Akan and the Danes and The Rise of Protestantism in West Africa, Ebenezer Ayesu; 5 The Resurgence of the Presbyterian and Anglican Missions in Calabar, Ekwutosi Essien Offiong; 6 Pain and the Black Garment: Pastoral Responses to African Widowhood, Elijah Baloyi; 7 An Act of Theological Negritude: Kwame Bediako on African Christian Identity, Tim Hartmann; Section 2: Arts, Aesthetics and Culture; 8 From Selma to Ferguson: Embodied Performance, Social Change and Political Organizing within the United States, Joy R. Bostic; 9 Sounds of Blackness? Struggles for Freedom in 21st Century Congregational Songs in South London, Pauline E. Muir; 10 The Cornel West Theory: prophetic criticism and the cultural production of hip hop, Michael Brandon McCormack; 11 Politically Freed Yet Mentally Enslaved! Reflecting on Psalm 8 by way of Steve Biko’s Notion of Black Beauty, Madipoane Masenya (Ngwan’a Mphahlele); 12 Rape, Rage and Culture: African Men’s Indigenous Knowledge and Resolutions to the Rape Crisis, Baba Amani Olubanjo Buntu; 13 Responding to Black Youth Invisibility: The Black Church Nurturing the Artist Within, Sarah Farmer; 14 Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter and the Educational Empowerment of Muslim Women, Rizwana Latha
William Ackah is Lecturer in Community and Voluntary Sector Studies at Birbeck, University of London, UK. He is also Co-Convenor of Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race.
Jualynne E. Dodson is Professor of Sociology and African American & African Studies at Michigan State University, USA, where she is also Founding Director the African Atlantic Research Team.
R. Drew Smith is Professor of Urban Ministry at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, USA. He is also Co-Convenor of the Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race.