Something Within

Something Within : Religion in African-American Political Activism

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One of the first book-length studies in decades solely devoted to religion and African-American political activism, Something Within explores how Afro-Christianity encourages political activism among African-Americans. Combining ethnography, history, contextual analysis, and survey research, this book illustrates the participatory effects of Afro-Christianity by examining its institutional, psychological, and cultural influences. Moving beyond the current debates on the subject, Fredrick C. Harris advances a new theory of religion as a political resource for a "civic culture in opposition."
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Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 153.2 x 234.2 x 18.3mm | 388.17g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 3 halftones, 16 line illustrations
  • 019514595X
  • 9780195145953

Table of contents

I. Introduction ; II. When a Little Becomes Much: Religious Resources in Action ; III. Prophetic Fragments: Macro and Micro Foundations of Religious Resources ; IV. Religion Reconsidered: Black Protest and Electoral Activism in an Age of Transformation ; V. Blessed Assurance: Religion, Personal Empowerment, and African-American Political Activism ; VI. Rock in a Weary Land: Religion Institutions and African-American Political Activism ; VII. Ties That Bind: Organizational and Psychological Dynamics of Religious Resources ; VIII. The Last Shall Be First: Religion, Oppositional Culture, and African-American Political Mobilization ; IX. In My Father's House: Religion and Gender in African-American Political Life ; X. (Epilogue) It Remains to be Seen: Stability and Change in Religion and African-American Politics ; Appendices ; Notes ; Bibliography ; Index
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Review quote

"Destined to become one of the most important works on the influence of religion on African-American political behavior, this book blends a rich theoretical perspective with rigorous empirical analysis to shed new light on the historic black church as opiate or liberator debate. Written in an engaging and accessible style, Something Within is a must read for those interested in inextricably linked developments in political culture, political participation,
and race. This is political science at its best."-Linda Faye Williams, University of Maryland, College Park "This book fills an important gap and will, I suspect, make an immediate scholarly impact. One hears in these pages the cadences of the black church, the plaintive yet passionate cry of the spiritual, the defiant tone of prophetic challenges against injustice. Harris has captured the essence of this important phenomenon in a way that surpasses previous scholarship. I have been waiting for 20 years for a book like this."-Kenneth D. Wald, University of
Florida "W.E.B. Du Bois saw black religion and political activism in America as gifts that black people gave to America, thus nurturing its democratic practices and its soul in spite of the racism and rejection they faced. In considering both religion and political activism as interacting and multidimensional factors, Professor Harris provides a theoretically sophisticated and ethnographically rich window into the way the black church organizes and offers these gifts in
contemporary society. Overall this book is an absolute must read for anyone interested in the political implications of religion in a multi racial United States for the twenty first century."-Cheryl Townsend Gilkes, Colby College "Something Within is a wonderful blend of statistical data and telling anecdotes, all pointing to the importance of the church in the politics of the African-American community. The book takes seriously the impact of religious belief and practice in empowering citizens to be politically active. This is a book that should be read by anyone interested in religion and politics, in the role of voluntary associations in building civil society, or in
African-American politics."-Clyde Wilcox, Georgetown University "This meticulously researched book provides significant insight into the intersection of race with religion and politics in the US....In this pioneering work, Harris carefully frames his argument in research familiar to most scholars of religion and politics. The nonspecialist benefits from Harris's use of participant observation to bring reality to theory. Highly recommended."-Choice "...Harris ably supports his arguments and weaves a readable and informative narrative..."-Journal of Church and State
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