Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Association of Black Anthropologists
Primary Theme: Race
Secondary Theme: Resilience
The violence and suffering that have marked many aspects of the African American experience have long spurred what critical race scholar Ashon Crawley calls “otherwise” modes of envisioning the real and the good. This panel brings together ethnographic perspectives on how practitioners of African American religious traditions have countered the forms of social death and alienations to which they have been subjected with efforts to sustain vital relations of kinship. Whether the relatedness constructed by black religious practitioners is constructed through notions of ancestry, care, discourse, performative actions or other grammars, this panel interrogates how kinship becomes a channel of otherwise envisioning. Our key questions include how the relationships between vitality and death are framed through religious practice; emic ethics and theologies of relationship; how connections to divinities intersect with or are seen to oppose ties among kin; and how concerns about vitality and social death shape religious practitioners’ knowledge of self and other.