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Title: The racialized-politics within African-American studies as evidenced by the dismissal of the work of Jupiter Hammon and the conservative tradition of African-American slave Christianity
Author: May, Cory J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7425 7909
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2018
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My dissertation explores the minimizing, and often dismissal, of the evangelical conservative tradition of African-American Christianity within African-American studies. I argue that the primary cause of this development derives from the hermeneutics and methodologies employed by contemporary Black theologians and “Afrocentric-liberationist” scholars. Generally, these hermeneutics and methodologies were originally proposed by secular Black Nationalist and Black Power advocates during the Civil Rights Movement. This is seen in three areas: First, there is an interpretation of “Whiteness,” or European-Americans as completely corrupt and unredeemable. Second, there are calls for “Blackness,” or African-Americans to racially and socially segregate from Whiteness. Last, there are concepts of an “Ideal-Blackness,” a renewed or transformed Blackness created independently from Whiteness. These and other principles were employed by many contemporary Black scholars to various degrees. Furthermore, I argue that these principles sustain influential Black Nationalist/Black Power historiographies, and shape the dominant trends within the discipline. I maintain that there are two conflicting traditions within African American culture: the religious tradition of conservative evangelicalism that was established during colonialism, and the secularist tradition of Black Nationalism and Black Power which originated during the civil rights movement. These traditions opposed one another during the civil rights movement. Later, this conflict was grafted into the academy, where it continues through the scholarship of many Black theologians and Afrocentric-liberationist scholars. Finally, I discuss the theology of Jupiter Hammon, an 18th century Christian slave, as a representative of the conservative tradition of African American Christianity. I argue that it is essential that scholars explore Hammon's theology, and the conservative tradition of African-American Christianity during colonialism, for a variety of reasons: first, it is important to understand this tradition, as it has shaped African-American Christianity and the Black church more than any other; second, exploring the conservative tradition during colonialism provides the constructive theologies, and alternative conservative historiographies, that complement the Black Nationalist/Black Power historiographies advocated by many contemporary Black scholars.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Black nationalism ; Black theology ; African American Christians ; Slaves