The New Black Gods: Arthur Huff Fauset and the Study of African American Religions (Religion in North America)

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9780253220578: The New Black Gods: Arthur Huff Fauset and the Study of African American Religions (Religion in North America)

Taking the influential work of Arthur Huff Fauset as a starting point to break down the false dichotomy that exists between mainstream and marginal, a new generation of scholars offers fresh ideas for understanding the religious expressions of African Americans in the United States. Fauset's 1944 classic, Black Gods of the Metropolis, launched original methods and theories for thinking about African American religions as modern, cosmopolitan, and democratic. The essays in this collection show the diversity of African American religion in the wake of the Great Migration and consider the full field of African American religion from Pentecostalism to Black Judaism, Black Islam, and Father Divine's Peace Mission Movement. As a whole, they create a dynamic, humanistic, and thoroughly interdisciplinary understanding of African American religious history and life. This book is essential reading for anyone who studies the African American experience.

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About the Author:

Edward E. Curtis IV is Millennium Scholar of the Liberal Arts and Associate Professor of Religious Studies and American Studies at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis. He is author of Islam in Black America and Black Muslim Religion in the Nation of Islam, 1960–1975. He is editor of the Columbia Sourcebook of Muslims in the United States.

Danielle Brune Sigler is Curator of Academic Affairs at the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin.

Review:

"This well-conceived book extends Fauset's respect for religious differences and his laudable refusal to indulge in grand, but inaccurate generalities." --Journal of American History

"... a fantastic new collection of essays on Arthur Huff Fauset and African American religious traditions." --Phillip Luke Sinitiere, Religion in American History (blog), May 4, 2009

'The editors of this fine collection of essays have resurrected the influence and importance of Arthur Fauset's classic study Black Gods of the Metropolis (1944) for the field of African American religion. The essays in part 1 attempt to update the five new religious movements in urban areas that Fauset discovered in his ethnographic work for his doctoral dissertation. Each essay tries to add a new angle or new materials to the 'cults' that he studied. For example, Clarence Hardy points to the broader movement of church mothers in the spread of female-led Pentecostal churches in urban areas, of which Bishop Ida Robinson's Mount Sinai Holy Church of America was only one. In Part 2, the contributors attempt to resurrect Fauset's vision for African American religious studies. Of the essays in this section, Stephen Angell's reflections on how Fauset intersected with the Herskovits-Frazier debate on African cultural survivals are the most insightful. In his study, Fauset found a mediating position as a political activist and ethnographer to critique the work of both scholars. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and scholars in the field." --Choice, L. H. Mamiya, Vassar College, October 2009

"Underscores...the imperative that alternative spiritual visions not be blurred by the dismissive optic of any presumed orthodoxy...a commendable collection." --American Historical Review

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