Tag Archives: Celucien Joseph

In which I was part of a panel at a scholarly conference for the first time

Langston Hughes was part of the Harlem Renaiss...

My Experience At the Southwest Commission for Religious Studies

Saturday, I entered arena of scholarship once more, the first time as an “Independent Scholar.” But don’t be deceived, my independence gave me the freedom to ask questions at every session I attended. My goal was to network as much as possible, and I achieved that goal, primarily in the morning.

In the afternoon, I felt I was in good company with the Womanist and Liberationist Ethics session of the AAR, and then a little later at the plenary session lead by Joerg Rieger.

Our panel, the Harlem Renaissance and Black Religion(s), was the first Panel I have been asked to be a part of. It was sort of a risk to go where I had never gone before, to actually do a scholarly presentation on black science fiction, postcolonial theology, Christianity, and race, but I pulled it off. My thesis adviser and Brite professor Keri Day was the moderator, while Phillip Luke Sinitiere also presented on Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I also volunteered to read Lou Joseph’s paper on Langston Hughes’s play Emperor of Haiti so he could receive credit on his CV. I felt like this panel was the beginning of something different and special, and Lou’s work was very important. Thus, I felt compelled to volunteer to read (I myself in the past have had a reader for a paper).

The best thing about all of our research projects is the potential for engaging the Harlem Renaissance and Black Religion(s) from an intercultural perspective. With Lou’s look at the Haitian Revolution in light of the Catholic religion and Langston Hughes’ literature, Phillip’s engagement with Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s being influenced by the Negro church tradition, and my observations on the similarities and differences between Irishman C.S. Lewis and George Schuyler, the possibilities are real and endless. It’s part of my vision to be a Black Church scholar for a Multicultural world, and this project may fit the bill. At the panel itself, I spoke for a total of close to 80 minutes (both presentations were at 30 minutes, then the q & a); I just couldn’t stop talking. I was like the Bubba Blue of Black Sci Fi!


I would definitely like to be part of a panel again, even if it’s not about the Harlem Renaissance or science fiction. I would highly recommend you give it a try if you are a student, since it means collaboration with other scholars and more engagement with the audience.

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Society of Race, Ethnicity and Religion: A New Scholarly Society

On the wall of Theology and Critical Race Theory Facebook Group, Celucien Joseph posted a link to a new Scholarly Society, The Society of Race, Ethnicity and Religion.

Here is the description:

“Nuestro vino de plátano, y si es agrio, es nuestro vino.” – José Martí
(Let us make our wine out of plantains, and if it comes out sour, it is still our wine)

“Although a space has been carved out for scholars of color, the scholarship taking place within that space continues to be ignored; and because there are numerous sessions and groups during Academic conferences – so many of our sessions are forced to conflict with each other, seldom providing the opportunity for scholars of color to cross-pollinate. We must ask if we inadvertently constructed impressive exclusive cul-de-sacs from which to master our particular disciplines. Like a four-leaf clover, our separate cul-de-sacs operate side-by-side with few of us ever venturing into the adjoining communities. Solidarity may occur from time to time, but it usually happens with little intellectual engagement. If we rile against most Euroamericans for not engaging our scholarship, then in all honesty, we must also hold ourselves accountable, for few of us, in our numerous books and articles, actually quote or dialogue with other communities of color.
Many of us are content to remain within our own academic niche. Others, because of the numerous sessions at academic conferences, are unable to ever visit the neighboring cul-de-sac. More disturbing is when scholars of color are oblivious to how they and their communities are locked into structures that cause oppression to other communities of color. Where do we explore how our separate marginalized communities remain complicit with disenfranchising other groups, whether those groups are marginalized due to darker skin pigmentation, language, gender, sexual orientation, economic class or different religious traditions?
To this end, we (Stacey Floyd-Thomas, Anthony Pinn, Miguel A. De La Torre) propose creating The Society of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion (SRER). The purpose of this multi-discipline Society is to create a space where communities of color can gather to discuss among themselves so as to advance their scholarship though the power of synergism – a space where we can engage, learn, and be challenged from communities of color other than our own. Please note we are not the leaders of the Society, just coordinating the first meeting. At our first meeting we hope a leadership council is established representing a male and female representative from each community of color
WHEN: April 26-28, 2013 (tentatively)
WHERE: Chicago (tentatively)
1) Forward this email to scholars of color you believe would be interested
2) Become a member of SRER by sending a $100 membership check to:
Society of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion
c/o Miguel A. De La Torre
Iliff School of Theology
2201 University Blvd
Denver, CO 80210
Send the check my March 15, 2012 so that you can be listed as a Founding Member of the Society; and we can have a head count so that when we travel to Chicago in late March 2012, we know how many people are really interested and can make appropriate reservations for accommodations. Include with your check a) Your name, b) Institution, c) Email, d) Phone numbers, and e) if you plan to attend the first meeting
3) Get involved, we need people who have legal experience that can incorporate us; have CPA experience who can file our 501(c)3; have grant writing experience who can help find monies for getting the Society off the ground and provide scholarship for students to attend; and can help us set up a webpage/blog where members can discuss and help plan that first meeting.
4) When we have our first conference, space would be created to organize ourselves more efficiently. Meanwhile, our first task is to discover how many colleagues of color are truly interested (measured by membership) and then, actually meet.”

2 New Projects on Zora Neale Hurston and Theology

Zora Neale Hurston


Zora Neale Hurston, American author. Deutsch: ...

A week or so ago, I had mentioned that Celucien Joseph, Phillip Luke Sinitiere, and I are scheduled to do a panel on Black Religions and the Harlem Renaissance at the 2012 Southwest Commission on Religious Studies. Lou’s focus will be on Langston Hughes, Phillip’s will be the Negro Church’s and Movement’s influence on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and mine will be a comparative study on the science fiction literature provided by Samuel I. Brooks and C.S. Lewis.

A good scholar/independent researcher is always looking forward, moving on to a new topic. Celucien plans to move on to the religion of Zora Neale Hurston; in particular, Lou’s investigating “her religious vision through the American tradition of pragmatic religious naturalism.”

Anyone who could like to help out Lou with any recommendations, please visit his blog, and comment here.

The second project dealing with Zora Neale Hurston and theology actually is a paper proposal that has been fueling in my mind for a year or so. But, last week on Twitter, I found a way to articulate that idea. So, here goes. On Labor Day of this year, I did a reflection “What Happened to Moses?” I noticed that several Patristic theologians wrote entire books on the Life of Moses, including a missing text by Clement of Alexandria (if only, if only). In addition, I have observed that in the slave spirituals that Moses is brought up a lot as a part of the African American religious pantheon, and that persons such as Booker T Washington were referred to as the Negro Moses. So I have decided that I would like to do a paper dealing with the Patristics rendering of Moses and read those alongside Jewish theologians and a post-colonial theological interpretation Zora Neale Hurston’s Moses, Man of the Mountain. If you have any recommendations for reading for my proposed project, please comment here or share with me on Twitter. I would very much appreciate it.

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