African-American Religious Naturalism: A New Perspective on Black Animality and the Diseased Imagination
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About the Event
Embedded in persistent representations of people of African descent as inferior beings or subpar humans are problematic notions of animality, race, and nature in the U.S., or a lethal combination of intimately conjoined white supremacy and species supremacy. Confronting these processes is a model of African American religious naturalism, which presupposes human animals’ deep, inextricable homology with each other and with other natural processes. Evoking W. E. B. Du Bois’ early twentieth-century sentiment that Americans of African descent seek a new religious ideal emerging from past convictions, White explores the contours of this new model of black religiosity in the twenty-first century. Building on the ideas of Anna J. Cooper, W. E. B. du Bois, and James Baldwin, White explores a model of African-American religious naturalism that emphasizes humans as sacred centers of value and distinct movements of nature itself where deep relationality and interconnectedness become key metaphors for honoring all life forms. Some suggestions for understanding our human animality in light of these claims are offered.