Cultural Awareness Town Hall: Black Bodies Matter: Black Religion, Democracy, and the Possibility of Social Transformation

Tuesday, February 21 2017 @ 04:00 PM to 05:30 PM

Walther Hall (R3) ,C203

Presenter(s): Joseph L. Tucker Edmonds, PhD
Audience: Students, Faculty and Staff


“Black Bodies Matter’ will address the role radical Black religions, historically and in the contemporary moment, have played in providing the language and terms for not simply African and African American understandings of spirituality but African Americans’ understanding and shaping of democracy.  By examining Black religion’s relationship to and theorization of the Black body in the middle of the twentieth century, this talk will explore the novel and important contributions of Black religions to reframing and re-imagining the Black body, the role of Black women, and practices of liberation in African American communities.   Finally, this talk argues that by looking at the history, language and practices of movements like Father Divine, the Nation of Islam, and the Shrine of the Black Madonna that we are better able to understand political, religious and social organizing in the present moment.  “Black Bodies Matter” is connected to my continuing work on the relationship between the fragile nature of US democracy and the role of Black religion as a substantive component of African American political resistance and social transformation.  

Joseph L. Tucker Edmonds, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Religious Studies at Indiana University’s School of Liberal Arts (IUPUI). He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from Brown University, his Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and his PhD in Religious Studies from Duke University. Joseph was recently awarded IUPUI Trustees’ Teaching Award for excellence in classroom teaching. This current academic year (2016-2017), however, Joseph will not be in the classroom as he recently received the Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship which will provide him time and resources to complete his book on radical political traditions within mainstream African American Christianity.


This event is sponsored by the IUSM Office of Diversity Affairs . If you have questions about this event please contact the office at 317-274-1939 or by email at