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New book from Josef Sorett (SOF Governing Board Member, 2017–2020)

April 19, 2023
Poster for Black is a Church: Christianity and the Contours of African American Life

Josef Sorett (Governing Board Member, 2017–2020) has published a new book, Black is a Church. In Black is a Church, Professor Sorett maps the ways in which black American culture and identity have been animated by a particular set of Protestant ideas and practices in order to chart the mutually reinforcing discourses of racial authenticity and religious orthodoxy that have made Christianity essential to the very notion of blackness. In doing so, Sorett reveals the ways that Christianity, white supremacy, and colonialism coalesced in the modern category of "religion" and became formative to the emergence of black identity in North America.

To commemorate the new work, the NYPL Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, in partnership with the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, Professor Kellie E. Jones, Chair, and the Institute for Research in African American Studies at Columbia, Professors Mabel O. Wilson, Director will host a special event on Wednesday, April 26 from 6:30 - 8pm EDT.

Register here

Full Details from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Join us in conversation with author and professor Josef Sorett as he discusses his recently released work, Black is a Church: Christianity and the Contours of African American Life. Sorett's scholarship explores the vital and complex role that religion has played in shaping Black communities and movements with insights and research that straddles the disciplines of history, literature, religion, art, and music. He will be in conversation with the Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Joy L. Bivins.

Sorett employs primarily historical and literary approaches to the study of religion in Black communities and cultures in the United States. His first book, Spirit in the Dark: A Religious History of Racial Aesthetics, illuminates how religion has figured in debates about Black art and culture across the 20th century. In addition to editing the recently released volume The Sexual Politics of Black Churches, Sorett is working on a new treatise, "There’s a God on the Mic: Hip Hop’s (Surprising) Religious History."

Wednesday, April 26 · 6:30 - 8pm EDT