Are The Gods Afraid of Black Sexuality?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014
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Event Date:
Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 10:30am - Friday, October 24, 2014 - 6:15pm
Earl Hall, Columbia University & First Corinthian Baptist Church, Harlem
  • View The Conference Live Here! (AVAILABLE DAYS OF CONFERENCE)
  • Conference Organizer:
    Josef Sorett, Assistant Professor of Religion and African-American Studies, Columbia University
  • Graduate Coordinator:
    Laura McTighe, PhD Candidate, Department of Religion, Columbia University
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On October 23-24, 2014, the Institute for Research in African-American Studies (IRAAS) at Columbia University will convene “Are the Gods Afraid of Black Sexuality?  Religion and the Burdens of Black Sexual Politics.”  The meetings for our two-day event will be held in New York City, on the campus of Columbia University, October 23-34, 2014.  An evening plenary on Thursday, October 23rd will be hosted at First Corinthians Baptist Church in Harlem.
We are living through a moment of tremendous change at the intersection of race, religion, and sexuality, which has significant implications both for those who study and practice religion alike.  “Are the Gods Afraid of Black Sexuality?” will bring scholars, activists and religious leaders together to explore a range of historical and contemporary phenomena associated with religion, race and sexuality, as they coalesce and converge.  The task before us is not to address a single problem, but rather to unearth and engage with the often-unstated normative claims -- surrounding race and religion, gender and sex -- that continue to inform the work of scholars of (and the lives of people within) the US and the African Diaspora. 
Topics to be addressed over the course of the two days will include: Religion, Media, Markets and the Making of Black Sexualities; Religious Narratives of Black Sexuality in the New World; The Religious Aesthetics/Cultural Politics of Black Sexuality; a Keynote Conversation on organizing for social change in the academy, through religious institutions, and in grassroots movements; Captive Bodies: The Sexual Politics of Policing Blackness; and Beyond the Burdens: Engendering the Sexual Futures of Black Religion.  In addition to these more traditional panel-format presentations, we will also be holding a Public Conversation on The Sexual Politics of Black Sacred Music and a mini Film Festival.  Please click HERE for the full conference schedule. 
In the spirit of IRAAS’s founder, the late Dr. Manning Marable, and his belief in the democratic value of ideas shared among as broad a range and with as many people as possible, this conference, like all the IRAAS conferences before it, offers no-cost registration to the public.
Conference Contact: General inquiries: arethegodsafraid @
•        IRAAS Contact: iraas @
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