James Baldwin’s Pragmatist Politics in
The Fire Next Time
Courtney D Ferriter
In The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin argues that the American dream is far from being a
reality in part because there is much Americans do not wish to know about themselves.
Given the current political climate in the United States, this idea seems just as timely
as it did in the 1960s. Baldwin’s politics and thinking about race and religion are
informed by an optimistic belief in the human capacity to love and change for the better,
in contrast with Ta-Nehisi Coates, the heir apparent to Baldwin’s legacy. Considering
current events, it seems particularly useful to turn back to The Fire Next Time. Not only
does Baldwin provide a foundation for understanding racism in the United States, but more
importantly, he provides some much-needed hope and guidance for the future. Baldwin
discusses democracy as an act that must be realized, in part by coming to a greater
understanding of race and religion as performative acts that have political consequences
for all Americans. In this article, I examine the influence of pragmatism on Baldwin’s
understanding of race and religion. By encouraging readers to acknowledge race and
religion as political constructs, Baldwin highlights the inseparability of theory and
practice that is a hallmark of both pragmatism and the realization of a democratic
society. Furthermore, I argue that Baldwin’s politics provide a more useful framework than
Coates’s for this particular historical moment because of Baldwin’s emphasis on change and
A mixed-method analysis of online community perception of epic biblical
Gregory P. Perreault and Thomas S. Mueller
academic scholarship in that they represent a shift from traditional religion to digital religion (Campbell 2004 ). These online religious communities ‘challenge traditional conceptions and understandings of community’ (Campbell 2004 : 82) in that the individuals within the community represent the potential for a new paradigm of religious behaviour.
Writing in the late nineteenth century, Tönnies ( 2002 ) describes a paradigmatic shift, which he argues resulted in part from the development of early mass media. This paradigmatic shift took society from being community
. ‘Somehow this has become routine. The reporting has become routine. My response here, from this podium, has become routine’, Obama said in October 2015, after a shooting at an Oregon community college cost the lives of eight students and a professor, the deadliest such attack in that state's history. 3 Many of these events were triggered – at least in the eyes of the perpetrators – by hostility towards race and/or religion, those twin pillars of America's historic shibboleth. Despite the contemporary concerns of the ‘war on terror’ era that sympathies were being
James Baldwin, the Religious Right, and the Moral
In the 1980s, James Baldwin recognized that a major transformation had occurred in the
socio-political functions of religion. His critique adapted accordingly, focusing on the
ways in which religion—particularly white evangelical Christianity—had morphed into a
movement deeply enmeshed with mass media, conservativepolitics, and late capitalism.
Religion in the Reagan era was leveraged, sold, and consumed in ways never before seen,
from charismatic televangelists, to Christian-themed amusement parks, to mega-churches.
The new movement was often characterized as the “religious right” or the “Moral Majority”
and was central to both Reagan’s political coalition as well as the broader culture wars.
For Baldwin, this development had wide-ranging ramifications for society and the
individual. This article draws on Baldwin’s final major essay, “To Crush the Serpent”
(1987), to examine the author’s evolving thoughts on religion, salvation, and
transgression in the context of the Reagan era.
The Enduring Rage of Baldwin and the Education of a
White Southern Baptist Queer
Delivered in Paris at the 2016 International James Baldwin Conference just two weeks
before the killing of 49 individuals at a LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida on 26 June
2016, “Relatively Conscious” explores, through the eyes of an LGBT American and the words
of James Baldwin, how separate and unequal life remains for so many within the United
States. Written in the tradition of memoir, it recounts how, just as Paris saved Baldwin
from himself, the writer’s life was transformedupon the discovery of Baldwin.
Norse Terror in the Late Eighteenth to Early Nineteenth Centuries
Antiquarian efforts to revive Old Norse poetry brought about an interest in Germanic superstition that could be exploited by literary writers. This article examines a subspecies of terror writing which took inspiration from Norse literature. Compared to the Catholic settings of many Gothic novels, Norse-inflected writing provided an alternative. It is a little known fact that the Old Norse religion and literature was used as a prism through which Britains ethnically Gothic past could be viewed and negotiated. The article discusses some examples of how the fashion for thrills was combined with a national project to recover a sense of ancestral heroism.
In Alien3 Lt Ellen Ripley finds herself in a nightmare scenario. She has crash-landed on an abandoned prison planet, ‘Fury 161’, surrounded by a remnant of the inmate population (twenty-five prisoners, a medical officer and two administrators who have opted to remain in a care-taking capacity after the prison/refinery was closed). The prisoners are a violent group of rapists and murderers with double-y chromosome coding, who can only seem to control their excessive expressions of masculinity by fanatically embracing a fundamentalist religion. Ripley sums up the group as ‘a bunch of lifers who found God at the ass-end of space’. On one level, this setting begs for a story of male homosexuality: an all-male prison planet filled with sexual aggressors could be the recipe for a gay male porn classic. Instead, it becomes a tale of excessive masculinity manifested through heterosexual fears and desires. I want to take this discrepancy between homo-possibilities and hetero-manifestations as my point of departure to explore how Alien3s engagement with the Gothic diverts and expresses anxieties about queer masculinity, desire, and sexuality.
mysticism. The Transcendentalists, as the name implies,
thought of themselves as religious thinkers, not just literary writers or
cultural commentators (though they were both of these). But it is
significant that their idea of religion was formed mainly by their study
of texts such as the Bhagavad Gita rather than the New Testament.
Their preference for Hinduism over Christianity led to their being
regarded as subversives, or even heretics. At best, they were accused of
superficiality, of dabbling in Eastern thought instead of engaging with
the profundities of the pilgrim
Exploring tensions between the secular and the sacred in Noah, the
‘least biblical biblical movie ever’
the world they live in, such a subject could not possibly be depicted in a film’ (xix). For Noah ’s detractors, arguably the point of contention was not that the subject could not be depicted, but that it should not be depicted in a film in this way . As this chapter will demonstrate, Noah ’s most vocal opponents are politically motivated. Their protestations represent opposition and reaction to the threat of increasing secularisation in Western society, and the diminishing power and authority of religion. The controversy surrounding Noah , therefore, is
Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns and Emiliano Aguilar
both films tap into social anxieties about religion and justice following their own social and cultural contexts.
The biblical-procedural film: looking for justice in an unjust world
For centuries, the Roman Catholic Church withstood all the currents of change in history and maintained a closely shielded orthodoxy which has always served as the centre of all Christianity. Currently, this orthodoxy is battling one of its greatest challenges: a diminished commitment to the Church. ‘Pupils, families and teachers live in the cultural noise and traffic of the twenty