Black Lives and Sacred Humanity: Toward an African American Religious Naturalism

Black Lives and Sacred Humanity: Toward an African American Religious Naturalism

by Carol Wayne White

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Identifying African American religiosity as the ingenuity of a people constantly striving to inhabit their humanity and eke out a meaningful existence for themselves amid harrowing circumstances, Black Lives and Sacred Humanity constructs a concept of sacred humanity and grounds it in the writings of Anna Julia Cooper, W. E. B. Du Bois, and James Baldwin. Supported by current theories in science studies, critical theory, and religious naturalism, this concept, as Carol Wayne White demonstrates, offers a capacious view of humans as interconnected, social, value-laden organisms with the capacity to transform themselves and create nobler worlds wherein all sentient creatures flourish.

Acknowledging the great harm wrought by divisive and problematic racial constructions in the United States, this book offers an alternative to theistic models of African American religiosity to inspire newer, conceptually compelling views of spirituality that address a classic, perennial religious question: What does it mean to be fully human and fully alive?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780823269822
Publisher: Fordham University Press
Publication date: 05/01/2016
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Carol Wayne White is Professor of Philosophy of Religion at Bucknell University. She is the author of Poststructuralism, Feminism, and Religion: Triangulating Positions and The Legacy of Anne Conway (1631–1679): Reverberations from a Mystical Naturalism.

Table of Contents


Introduction: In Search of a New Religious Ideal
1. African American Religious Sensibilities and the Question of the Human
2. Sacred Humanity as Stubborn, Irreducible Materiality
3. Anna Julia Cooper: Relational Humanity and the Interplay of One and All
4. W. E. B. Du Bois: Humans as Centers of Value and Creativity
5. James Baldwin: Race, Religion, and the Love of Humanity
Conclusion: Toward an African American Religious Naturalism


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