Catalogue


African American atheists and political liberation [electronic resource] : a study of the sociocultural dynamics of faith /
Michael Lackey.
imprint
Gainesville : University Press of Florida, c2007.
description
172 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
9780813030357 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Gainesville : University Press of Florida, c2007.
isbn
9780813030357 (alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
contents note
Frantz Fanon and J. Saunders Redding : the psychological and political necessity of atheism -- The humanist/atheist controversy in Richard Wright's The outsider -- No means yes : the conversion narrative as rape scene in Nella Larsen's Quicksand -- Langston Hughes : the sociocultural structuring of God, desire, and the law -- Touchstone narratives: measuring the value of the God concept.
catalogue key
8440470
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [151]-163) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2007-10-01:
An original and provocative approach to a genuinely neglected aspect of 20th-century African American literature, this well-written, accessible book turns the tables on conventional accounts of African American religious beliefs. Focusing on African American atheists, Lackey (Wellesley College) argues that these writers/thinkers are distinguished by their "preoccupation with the pragmatic and political functions of the God concept." Accordingly, he maintains, their works are notable for irreverent, mocking, and disdainful views of the liberatory prospects of ideas about God and religion for the black community. Drawing on the insights of such writers as Frantz Fanon and J. Saunders Redding to establish a theoretical foundation for his argument, Lackey offers close, provocative readings of Richard Wright's The Outsider, Nella Larsen's Quicksand, Langston Hughes's short stories and poems, what he calls "touchstone narratives," i.e., works that have their roots in conversion narrative but are distinguished by the way they chronicle the narrators' rejection of the God concept. Thus does Lackey make the case for "Black Liberation Antitheology" (as he titles his conclusion) as an important force in 20th-century African American literature. In making his argument, the author assumes familiarity with key African American writers and with ongoing discussions and debates about and within African American religion. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. J. A. Miller George Washington University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Persuasively isolates and describes a philosophical tradition of 'black liberation atheism' that emerges, gaining coherence and momentum, in the twentieth century. Lackey's description and analysis of black liberationist atheism will startle scholars into reconsidering the religious politics of familiar authors and intellectual figures like Richard Wright, Nella Larsen, and Langston Hughes." -- Dana D. Nelson
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, October 2007
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Summaries
Description for Bookstore
"A tremendous contribution to black studies and atheist philosophy."--Norm R. Allen, Jr., editor ofAfrican-American Humanism: An AnthologyandThe Black Humanist Experience "Persuasively isolates and describes a philosophical tradition of 'black liberation atheism' that emerges, gaining coherence and momentum, in the twentieth century. Lackey's description and analysis of black liberationist atheism will startle scholars into reconsidering the religious politics of familiar authors and intellectual figures like Richard Wright, Nella Larsen, and Langston Hughes."--Dana D. Nelson, Vanderbilt University This study of atheist African American writers poses a substantive challenge to those who see atheism in despairing and nihilistic terms. Lackey argues that while most white atheists mourn the loss of faith, many black atheists--believing the "God-concept" spawns racism and oppression--consider the death of God a cause for personal and political hope. Focusing on a little-discussed aspect of African American literature, this full-length analysis of African American atheists' treatment of God fills a huge gap in studies that consistently ignore their contributions. Examining how a belief in God and His "chosen people" necessitates a politics of superiority and inferiority, Lackey implicitly considers the degree to which religious faith is responsible for justifying oppression, even acts of physical and psychological violence. In their secular vision of social and political justice, black atheists argue that only when the culture adopts and internalizes a truly atheist politics--one based on pluralism, tolerance, and freedom--will radical democracy be achieved. Of primary interest to scholars of African American studies, this volume also will appeal to religious scholars, philosophers, anthropologists, freethinkers, and religious and secular humanists.
Description for Bookstore
“A tremendous contribution to black studies and atheist philosophy.”--Norm R. Allen, Jr., editor of African-American Humanism: An Anthologyand The Black Humanist Experience “Persuasively isolates and describes a philosophical tradition of ‘black liberation atheism’ that emerges, gaining coherence and momentum, in the twentieth century. Lackey’s description and analysis of black liberationist atheism will startle scholars into reconsidering the religious politics of familiar authors and intellectual figures like Richard Wright, Nella Larsen, and Langston Hughes.”--Dana D. Nelson, Vanderbilt University This study of atheist African American writers poses a substantive challenge to those who see atheism in despairing and nihilistic terms. Lackey argues that while most white atheists mourn the loss of faith, many black atheists--believing the “God-concept” spawns racism and oppression--consider the death of God a cause for personal and political hope. Focusing on a little-discussed aspect of African American literature, this full-length analysis of African American atheists’ treatment of God fills a huge gap in studies that consistently ignore their contributions. Examining how a belief in God and His “chosen people” necessitates a politics of superiority and inferiority, Lackey implicitly considers the degree to which religious faith is responsible for justifying oppression, even acts of physical and psychological violence. In their secular vision of social and political justice, black atheists argue that only when the culture adopts and internalizes a truly atheist politics--one based on pluralism, tolerance, and freedom--will radical democracy be achieved. Of primary interest to scholars of African American studies, this volume also will appeal to religious scholars, philosophers, anthropologists, freethinkers, and religious and secular humanists.
Description for Bookstore
"A tremendous contribution to black studies and atheist philosophy."--Norm R. Allen, Jr., editor of African-American Humanism: An Anthologyand The Black Humanist Experience "Persuasively isolates and describes a philosophical tradition of 'black liberation atheism' that emerges, gaining coherence and momentum, in the twentieth century. Lackey's description and analysis of black liberationist atheism will startle scholars into reconsidering the religious politics of familiar authors and intellectual figures like Richard Wright, Nella Larsen, and Langston Hughes."--Dana D. Nelson, Vanderbilt University This study of atheist African American writers poses a substantive challenge to those who see atheism in despairing and nihilistic terms. Lackey argues that while most white atheists mourn the loss of faith, many black atheists--believing the "God-concept" spawns racism and oppression--consider the death of God a cause for personal and political hope. Focusing on a little-discussed aspect of African American literature, this full-length analysis of African American atheists' treatment of God fills a huge gap in studies that consistently ignore their contributions. Examining how a belief in God and His "chosen people" necessitates a politics of superiority and inferiority, Lackey implicitly considers the degree to which religious faith is responsible for justifying oppression, even acts of physical and psychological violence. In their secular vision of social and political justice, black atheists argue that only when the culture adopts and internalizes a truly atheist politics--one based on pluralism, tolerance, and freedom--will radical democracy be achieved. Of primary interest to scholars of African American studies, this volume also will appeal to religious scholars, philosophers, anthropologists, freethinkers, and religious and secular humanists.
Long Description
This study of atheist African American writers poses a substantive challenge to those who see atheism in despairing and nihilistic terms. Lackey argues that while most white atheists mourn the loss of faith, many black atheists--believing the "God-concept" spawns racism and oppression--consider the death of God a cause for personal and political hope. Focusing on a little-discussed aspect of African American literature, this full-length analysis of African American atheists' treatment of God fills a huge gap in studies that consistently ignore their contributions. Examining how a belief in God and His "chosen people" necessitates a politics of superiority and inferiority, Lackey implicitly considers the degree to which religious faith is responsible for justifying oppression, even acts of physical and psychological violence. In their secular vision of social and political justice, black atheists argue that only when the culture adopts and internalizes a truly atheist politics--one based on pluralism, tolerance, and freedom--will radical democracy be achieved. Of primary interest to scholars of African American studies, this volume also will appeal to religious scholars, philosophers, anthropologists, freethinkers, and religious and secular humanists.
Main Description
This study of atheist African American writers poses a substantive challenge to those who see atheism in despairing and nihilistic terms. Lackey argues that while most white atheists mourn the loss of faith, many black atheists--believing the “God-concept” spawns racism and oppression--consider the death of God a cause for personal and political hope. Focusing on a little-discussed aspect of African American literature, this full-length analysis of African American atheists’ treatment of God fills a huge gap in studies that consistently ignore their contributions. Examining how a belief in God and His “chosen people” necessitates a politics of superiority and inferiority, Lackey implicitly considers the degree to which religious faith is responsible for justifying oppression, even acts of physical and psychological violence. In their secular vision of social and political justice, black atheists argue that only when the culture adopts and internalizes a truly atheist politics--one based on pluralism, tolerance, and freedom--will radical democracy be achieved. Of primary interest to scholars of African American studies, this volume also will appeal to religious scholars, philosophers, anthropologists, freethinkers, and religious and secular humanists.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction. African American Atheism: A Cause for Hopep. 1
Frantz Fanon and J. Saunders Redding: The Psychological and Political Necessity of Atheismp. 17
The Humanist/Atheist Controversy in Richard Wright's The Outsiderp. 42
No Means Yes: The Conversion Narrative as Rape Scene in Nella Larsen's Quicksandp. 73
Langston Hughes: The Sociopolitical Structuring of God, Desire, and the Lawp. 96
Touchstone Narratives: Measuring the Political Value of the God Conceptp. 117
Conclusion. Black Liberation Antitheology: An Atheist Manifestop. 142
Notesp. 151
Works Citedp. 157
Indexp. 165
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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