In this Book

Women and Religion in the African Diaspora
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This landmark collection of newly commissioned essays explores how diverse women of African descent have practiced religion as part of the work of their ordinary and sometimes extraordinary lives. By examining women from North America, the Caribbean, Brazil, and Africa, the contributors identify the patterns that emerge as women, religion, and diaspora intersect, mapping fresh approaches to this emergent field of inquiry. The volume focuses on issues of history, tradition, and the authenticity of African-derived spiritual practices in a variety of contexts, including those where memories of suffering remain fresh and powerful. The contributors discuss matters of power and leadership and of religious expressions outside of institutional settings. The essays study women of Christian denominations, African and Afro-Caribbean traditions, and Islam, addressing their roles as spiritual leaders, artists and musicians, preachers, and participants in bible-study groups. This volume's transnational mixture, along with its use of creative analytical approaches, challenges existing paradigms and summons new models for studying women, religions, and diasporic shiftings across time and space.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Frontmatter
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. ix-xx
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  1. Part I: Diasporic Knowledge
  2. pp. 1-1
  1. Chapter One:
  2. pp. 3-18
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  1. Chapter 2: “I Smoothed the Way, I Opened Doors”: Women in the Yoruba-Orisha Tradition of Trinidad
  2. pp. 19-36
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  1. Chapter 3: Joining the African Diaspora: Migration and Diasporic Religious Culture among the Gar
  2. pp. 37-58
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  1. Chapter 4: Women of the African Diaspora Within: The Masowe Apostles, an African Initiated Church
  2. pp. 59-80
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  1. Chapter 5: “Power in the Blood”: Menstrual Taboos and Women’s Power in an African Instituted Church
  2. pp. 81-97
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  1. Part II: Power, Authority and Subversion
  2. pp. 98-98
  1. Chapter 6: “The Spirit of the Holy Ghost is a Male Spirit”: African American Preaching Women and the Paradoxes of Gender
  2. pp. 101-127
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  1. Chapter 7: “Make Us a Power”: African American Methodists Debate the “Woman Question,” 1870–1900
  2. pp. 128-154
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  1. Chaper 8: “Only a Woman Would Do”: Bible Reading and African American Women’s Organizing Work
  2. pp. 155-178
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  1. Chapter 9: Exploring the Religious Connection: Black Women Community Workers, Religious Agency, and the Force of Faith
  2. pp. 179-196
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  1. Part III: Preforming Religion
  2. pp. 197-197
  1. Chapter 10: The Arts of Loving
  2. pp. 199-221
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  1. Chapter 11: “Truths that Liberate the Soul”: Eva Jessye and the Politics of Religious Performance
  2. pp. 222-244
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  1. Chapter 12: Shopping with Sister Zubayda: African American Sunni Muslim Rituals of Consumption and Belonging
  2. pp. 245-265
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  1. Chapter 13: “But, It’s Bible”: African American Women and Television Preachers
  2. pp. 266-292
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 293-356
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  1. About the Contributors
  2. pp. 357-360
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 361-374
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