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VDS Concentrations:

Black Religion and Culture Studies 

See concentration video HERE

This concentration offers opportunity for study and research in the religions of the African diaspora, their spiritual, intellectual, moral, and cultural contributions towards transforming the world through institutors, social movements, and cultural politics of race, gender, sexuality, and class. Black Religion is an umbrella term for historically understanding the Black Church and other African derived religions in the Americas from their development during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade to the present and explores their creative, sacred powers of survival, resistance, and flourishing. Drawing on a wide range of resources in black biblical hermeneutics, African American religious history, Black philosophy and theology, African American religious Studies, womanist ethics, sociology and psychology, and cultural studies, the concentration is methodologically interdisciplinary. 


Learning Goals:

  • Historical understanding of the development of Black religion and culture formations from African roots and beginnings in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade to the present.

  • Explore creative and transformative cultural practices and institutions that empower the spiritual and moral universes of Black religion and culture.

  • Critique social forces of oppression and transformative sources of liberation through interdisciplinary analyses.

Current Steering Committee: Victor Anderson and Forrest Harris (Co-Conveners), Herbert Marbury, Juan Floyd-Thomas, Stacey Floyd-Thomas, Emilie Townes, Phillis Shepard 


  Required Courses: None 


Praxis Fulfillment: 

One of the designated courses: 

DIV 5221 Social Action in the City 

DIV 5224 Liberation and Spirituality 

DIV 5226 Theology, Liberation and Ministry 

DIV 5236 Mobilizing for Justice: Advocacy among Children and Youth DIV 5248 Faith and Politics in Collective Violence and Globalization 

DIV 5250 Models and Practice of Justice DIV 7145 African American Social Ethics OR in consultation with Field Education faculty, a related placement and completion of a course in Supervised Ministry and/or Field Education. 


Course Projections: 

Fall 2020:

6755 Anderson Black Religion and Culture Studies II 

6769 JFT The Religious Thought of Howard Thurman 

6772 JFT Race, Religion, and Protest Music 

7127 SFT Liberation Ethics 


Spring 2021 

5220 Joranko Social Action in the City* 

5224 Harris Liberation and Spirituality 

6571 Marbury Af Am Hermeneutics II 

6767 JFT Cultural Significations & Black Religion 

6777 JFT Black Prophetic Discourse 7080 Sheppard Spirituality and Social Action

7080 Sheppard Spirituality and Social Action