Embodiment and the New Shape of Black Theological Thought
Publication Year: 2010
“Pinn is one of the grand philosophers wrestling with the problem of evil. This masterful and magisterial book confirms his deserved reputation.”
Published by: NYU Press
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Delays occur and projects that are meant for completion linger, half developed in a folder on the desktop. This book was one such project. Jennifer Hammer and Peter Paris showed great patience, encouragement, and insightful suggestions for improving the project. Thank you for your encouragement and support. I must also thank the external readers for their careful...
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In important ways, this book has been more than fifteen years in the making, stemming as it does from my ongoing effort to do theology in nontraditional ways, and in light of overlooked but vital dimensions and schemes of African American life. Here I point to my concern with the presentation of an alternate black theology. While black and womanist theologies assume a...
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Black theology is a mode of worldly theology, worldly in that it recognizes the manner in which the historical progress of humanity has taken place at the expense of particular groups not within the circle of dominance. Its existence is premised on a rejection of religious na�vet� whereby human misery is covered by unrealizable hopefulness and theological slight of hand...
Part 1. Body Construction
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1. Theological Posturing
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The modern world focused a new type of attention on the difference of bodies, and created a hierarchy of bodies that gave felt or lived meaning to aesthetics.1 Enslaved Africans and their descents as victims of this discursive arrangement sought and continue to seek (in that the process is ongoing and always unfinished) to transform this discourse by turning it on its head...
2. Blackness and the Identifying of Bodies
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Suggested here is a felt/lived importance given to race that runs contrary to the more discursive take on gender and race offered by Michel Foucault, or the manner in which Foucault influenced such scholars as the philosopher Judith Butler, who understand these as something of a fantasy. For those prioritizing the discursive body, a turn to a “natural” body would constitute a...
3. What to Make of Gendered Bodies? Addressing the Male Problem
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The task now is to interrogate theologically the ways in which black bodies have been defined as representative of the social system and its complex arrangement of life. I begin this process with a questioning of manhood and masculinity as the assumed representative framing of the black body: Why in black theology are the bodies usually black, male (chap. 3), and heterosexual...
4. Sex(uality) and the (Un)Doing of Bodies
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Insights concerning gender, such as those marking chapter 3, serve to raise other questions because, as Foucault notes, power opens to new possibilities of subjectivity and ways by which to manage new efforts toward the subject.1 There is an ongoing process of discovery as systems of meaning are recognized and embraced and/or challenged.2 As a result we see/experience...
Part 2. Bodies in Motion
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5. Bodies as the Site of Religious Struggle: A Musical Mapping
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Movement through the world involves struggle, but how do we articulate theologically this struggle in ways that reflect the embodied experiences of a range of African Americans? It is my belief that popular culture—including musical expression—provides a useful framing of struggle as religious quest. Yet, in light of my concern with embodied theological thought...
6. On the Redemption of Bodies
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Chapter 5 highlighted the tension involved in the theological construction of the self in relationship to competing and overlapping forces of normalization. It pointed out the various possibilities of lived experience when penetrated and shaped by these forces. The process of engagement, or surrender, to these forces was outlined, but questions remain: What is the...
7. Bodies in the World
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The discussion in chapter 6 is a useful interrogation of embodied religious experience in the form of conversion and redemption, yet it leaves untapped an important area in that it does not sufficiently place black bodies and their redemption within the context of the larger natural environment. Humans are a part of the web of life, connected in profound ways to...
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About the Author
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Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2010