More on the Burden of Black Religion: Phil's Interview with Curtis Evans

Paul Harvey

Earlier on the blog I posted a review I did some time ago of Curtis Evans, The Burden of Black Religion.

Count on Phil Sinitiere, aka Baldblogger, to come up with the web's most extensive coverage of the author, Curtis Evans. Catch his two-part interview with Evans here, starting with Part II, scroll down for Part I. A little excerpt:

What began as an initial and hesitant probing of this literature led me to dig deeper into the specific sources that they cited to try to get a handle on the popular or cultural images of black religion that troubled them. What resulted was continued reading, trying to trace back in time how African American religion was understood and conceptualized. Eventually, it was not clear to me where to stop. How does one locate an origin of a particular discourse? David [Hall] and I talked a bit about this problem of finding origins. [Daniel Walker] Howe and George Frederickson in different ways wrote about romantic racialists and liberal New England Protestants who emphasized a religion of feeling and emotion and I found that many of these people had much to say about slave religion and seemed to particularly map feelings, affection, and a “religion of the heart” on slave Christianity. When I began talking to my advisors, I sensed I had a massive project on my hand, but our talks convinced me (though some of them were a bit worried about the size of the project) that I would have to engage in an analysis of the evolution of historical ideas, theories and cultural images of black religion if I were to make sense of the long-term historical trajectory of the kinds of issues that black sociologists and other social scientists were addressing in the 1930s and 1940s. In this way, my area of special interest became this complex intertwining of race and religion in American history.


Jason Bivins said…
Wonderful to read more about the makings and motivations of this superb book.