God and Blackness
Race, Gender, and Identity in a Middle Class Afrocentric Church
- "A welcome ethnographic study on middle-class African Americans. Abrams's research constitutes a significant advance in the study of Black religion and African American Studies. She reports on congregants’ views concerning blackness, middle-class status, feminism, and national identity and skillfully explores how middle class African Americans manage the tensions that arise between middle-class identity, Afro centrism, and Womanist perspectives.”
—Stephen D. Glazier, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
"What does it mean to treat everyday and existential commitments to 'blackness' in anthropologically holistic ways? God and Blackness provides one compelling version of an answer to that question. Abrams uses this rich ethnographic study of an Afrocentric church in suburban Atlanta to tackle an important and longstanding conceptual terrain, pushing readers to think just a little bit differently about some of their taken-for-granted assumptions vis-à-vis race, gender, class, and spirituality in all of their mutually constitutive simultaneity. . . . A very engaging read!"
—John L. Jackson, Jr., author of Real Black: Adventures in Racial Sincerity
“Abrams has written a striking interrogation of the multivalence of black identity constructions within Afrocentric communities wedded to Christianity. Using First Afrikan Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, GA, as a lens by which to expose the problematic nature of racial essentialism within concepts of Afrocentrism, Abrams reveals the fluid, convoluted ways black identity is constructed through class and gender experiences within local black Christian communities seeking to root themselves in Afrocentric paradigms. Furthering the arguments of Victor Turner and W. E. B. DuBois around liminality and double consciousness, Abrams discloses the numerous ways in which black Christian nationalism, Americanness, and middle classness are structured within Afrocentric Christian identities. Summing Up: Recommended.”
“With God and Blackness, Abrams gives us an engaging case study of a twenty-first-century American Religious world, expanding our conceptions of contemporary Protestantism… scholars of American religion, race and class will find this ethnography fascinating.”
—Religion and Society
“God and Blackness is an ideal introductory text for undergraduate courses on American religion and critical race theory, illustrating First Afrikan beliefs in compelling fashion while situating them within the contours of current scholarship on the intersections of race, class, and gender in the US.”
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