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Women and Religion in the African Diaspora

, 400 pages

13 halftones, 1 line drawing

August 2006



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Women and Religion in the African Diaspora

Knowledge, Power, and Performance

This landmark collection of newly commissioned essays explores how diverse women of African descent have practiced religion as part of the work of their ordinary and sometimes extraordinary lives. By examining women from North America, the Caribbean, Brazil, and Africa, the contributors identify the patterns that emerge as women, religion, and diaspora intersect, mapping fresh approaches to this emergent field of inquiry.

The volume focuses on issues of history, tradition, and the authenticity of African-derived spiritual practices in a variety of contexts, including those where memories of suffering remain fresh and powerful. The contributors discuss matters of power and leadership and of religious expressions outside of institutional settings. The essays study women of Christian denominations, African and Afro-Caribbean traditions, and Islam, addressing their roles as spiritual leaders, artists and musicians, preachers, and participants in bible-study groups.

This volume's transnational mixture, along with its use of creative analytical approaches, challenges existing paradigms and summons new models for studying women, religions, and diasporic shiftings across time and space.

R. Marie Griffith is a professor of religion at Princeton University. Barbara Dianne Savage is Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and a professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania.

"This book is truly groundbreaking. Future scholars will view it as a pioneering effort to develop an interdisciplinary, transnational approach to understanding women and religion. Griffith and Savage have assembled a talented group of scholars to herald the creation of a new field within the study of women and religion."

"This monumental text is the definitive examination of the rich and complex doings and sufferings of religious women of African descent. It brings together the most sophisticated thinkers—with diverse methodologies and perspectives—on the crucial reflections and lived experiences of Black religious women."

"An excellent resource for students in religious studies and scholars of the various religious movements examined."

" Women and Religion in the African Diaspora both preserves and lovingly encompasses a multiplicity of black women's religious experiences."

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