The New Black Gods
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The New Black Gods : Arthur Huff Fauset and the Study of African American Religions

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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.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 154.94 x 233.68 x 22.86mm | 430.91g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 0253220572
  • 9780253220578
  • 1,433,905

Review quote

"This reappraisal of Fauset becomes a reappraisal of how to study African American religions, which makes this volume a must for anyone interested in this field." -Nova Religio "Overall, the essays in this collection offer a fresh, thoughtful look into African American religious communities outside of the Christian mainstream.... [T]his is a commendable collection that should encourage and inform subsequent study." -American Historical Review, 116.1 February 2011 "This well-conceived book extends Fauset's respect for religious differences and his laudable refusal to indulge in grand, but inaccurate generalities." -Keith D. Miller, Arizona State UniversityTempe, Arizona, JOURNAL OF AMERICAN HISTORY, Vol. 97. 1 June 2010 "The editors of this fine collection of essays have resurrected the influence and importance of Arthur Fauset's classic study.... --Choice" -, October 2009 "... 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. --ChoiceL. H. Mamiya, Vassar College, October 2009 Most authors dedicate their books to family members or inspirational figures. IUPUI professor Edward Curtis has dedicated his latest volume, The New Black Gods: Arthur Huff Fauset and the Study of African American Religions (IU Press, 2009) to the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. 'I wanted to give credit where the credit was due,' said Curtis, faculty member in the Department of Religious Studies and the Millennium Scholar of the Liberal Arts. He noted the central role that the School played in hosting a national conference that brought together scholars from around the country with IUPUI students and Indianapolis community members to discuss religious diversity among African Americans. The book revolves around anthropologist Arthur Huff Fauset's groundbreaking volume, Black Gods of the Metropolis, first published in 1944. A study of African American religions in Philadelphia, the book was the first to use ethnographic techniques in the study of African-American religions. Fauset spent time with diverse groups such as Pentecostals, Black Judaism, Black Islam, and Father Divine's Peace Mission Movement. 'The New Black Gods' is a collection of scholarly essays on African American religions in the United States. In an effort to create an understanding of religious practices, scholars returned to the groups Fauset introduced in his work and built on his interpretations. 'This is a volume that is fresh and original, highly unified, important for American black religious studies scholarship, and important for the general insights it raises for the religious studies field as a whole,' write series editors Catherine L. Albanese and Stephen J. Stein.Along with co-editing the collection, Curtis contributed an essay entitled, 'Debating the Origins of the Moorish Science Temple: Toward a New Cultural History.' The essay explores the Moorish Science Temple, which was founded in Chicago in 1925, updating Fauset's initial 1944 ten page study. IUPUI Religious Studies professor Kelly Hayes also authored a volume chapter examining Brazil's African religious heritage.In his acknowledgments, Curtis concludes that School of Liberal Arts 'administrators, faculty, and staff members have turned IUPUI into a spectacular place for research and teaching in African American studies.'IUPUI School of Liberal Arts, May 19, 2009show more

About Edward E. Curtis

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.show more

Table of contents

ContentsForeword by Catherine L. Albanese and Stephen J. SteinAcknowledgmentsIntroduction / Edward E. Curtis IV and Danielle Brune SiglerPart 1. New Religious Movement(s) of the Great Migration Era 1. Fauset's (Missing) Pentecostals: Church Mothers, Remaking Respectability, and Religious Modernism / Clarence Hardy 2. "Grace Has Given God a Vacation": The History and Development of the Theology of the United House of Prayer of All People / Danielle Brune Sigler 3. "Chased out of Palestine": Prophet Cherry's Church of God and Early Black Judaisms in the United States / Nora L. Rubel 4. Debating the Origins of the Moorish Science Temple: Toward a New Cultural History / Edward E. Curtis IV 5. "The Consciousness of God's Presence Will Keep You Well, Healthy, Happy, and Singing": The Tradition of Innovation in the Music of Father Divine's Peace Mission Movement / Leonard Norman Primiano 6. "A True Moslem Is a True Spiritualist": Black Orientalism and Black Gods of the Metropolis / Jacob S. DormanPart 2. Resurrecting Fauset's Vision for African American Religious Studies 7. Religion Proper and Proper Religion: Arthur Fauset and the Study of African American Religions / Sylvester A. Johnson 8. The Perpetual Primitive in African American Religious Historiography / Kathryn Lofton 9. Turning African Americans into Rational Actors: The Important Legacy of Fauset's Functionalism / Carolyn Rouse 10. Defining the "Negro Problem" in Brazil: The Shifting Significance of Brazil's African Heritage from the 1890s to the 1940s / Kelly E. Hayes 11. Fauset and His Black Gods: Intersections with the Herskovits-Frazier Debate / Stephen W. AngellList of ContributorsIndexshow more