If this chapter had been written a
mere quarter-century ago, it would have contained an almost entirely
different account both of gentry religion and of the Church which
ministered to the late medieval English laity. For in the mid-1970s the
reaction against the longstanding ‘Protestant’ account of
the Church and lay piety was only just beginning. The late medieval
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
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.
‘You are the first generation
raised without religion’:
Coupland and postmodern
I began to wonder what exactly I had believed in . . . Precisely articulating
one’s beliefs is difficult. My own task had been made more difficult
because I had been raised without religion by parents who had broken
with their own pasts and moved to the West Coast – who had raised
their children clean of any ideology in a cantilevered modern house
overlooking the Pacific Ocean – at the end of history, or so they had
wanted to believe.1 (Life After God, 1994)
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.
This collection and the romances it investigates are crucial to our understanding of the aesthetics of medieval narrative and to the ideologies of gender and sexuality, race, religion, political formations, social class, ethics, morality and national identity with which those narratives emerge.
This book presents a wide range of previously unpublished works by Radclyffe Hall. These new materials significantly broaden and complicate critical views of Hall’s writings. They demonstrate the stylistic and thematic range of her work and cover diverse topics, including outsiderism, gender, sexuality, race, class, religion, the supernatural, and World War I. Together, these texts shed a new light on unrecognised or misunderstood aspects of Hall’s intellectual world. The volume also contains a substantial 20,000-word introduction, which situates Hall’s unpublished writings in the broader context of her life and work. Overall, the book invites a critical reassessment of Hall’s place in early twentieth-century literature and culture and offers rich possibilities for teaching and future research. It is of interest to scholars and undergraduate and postgraduate students in the fields of English literature, modernism, women’s writing, and gender and sexuality studies, and to general readers.
of Los Angeles is in
the eye of the beholder and their capacity of looking at things ‘up close’.
This is most visible in Chapter Seventeen, built as a ‘rosary of the city’ as
to remark the importance of religion in the novel and in the history of LA. 24 In the lowest moment of his identity
crisis, Black is on the verge of committing suicide, which he eventually does not. The
archangel Gabriel appears to him in the form of a pigeon and accompanies him from Olvera to
Cesar Chavez to East LA, to show Black what he showed the
, or via narratives of gender and race and religion, for example – break under pressure. And in each of these plays we can see a slightly different system of meaning being brought into critical focus: in Much Ado , the female body is being parsed for chastity; in Julius Caesar , fitness to rule is being measured by the conspirators against the perceived rectitude of Caesar's body; in Othello , racial, religious and gendered norms (the ‘politics of plausibility’,
to borrow Alan Sinfield's phrase) are manipulated
Best known for a trilogy of historical novels set in the fictional town of Gilead, Iowa, Marilynne Robinson is a prolific essayist, teacher, and public speaker, routinely celebrated as a singular author of contemporary American fiction. This collection intervenes in the author’s growing critical reputation, pointing to new and exciting links between the author, the historical settings of her novels, and the contemporary themes of her fictional, educational, and theoretical work. Touching on ongoing debates in race, gender, and environmental politics, as well as education, democracy, and the state of critical theory, New Perspectives on Marilynne Robinson demonstrates the wider secular and popular impact of the author’s work, building on the largely theological focus of previous criticism to suggest new and innovative interpretations of her oeuvre. The collection’s four sections are dedicated to: Robinson’s use of form and style; her exploration of the relationship between gender and the environment; her use of history and the intersection of race, rights, and religion in her work; and a discussion of Robinson and her contemporaries. As such, the collection argues for a reconsideration of Robinson within the field of American and English Studies, by bringing together 16 new, vibrant, and undoubtedly contemporary analyses of her work. Authors include: Bridget Bennett, Richard King, Sarah Churchwell, Jack Baker, Maria Elena Carpintero Torres-Quevedo, Daniel King, Anna Maguire Elliott, Makayla Steiner, Lucy Clarke, Christopher Lloyd, Tessa Roynon, Alexander Engebretson, Emily Hammerton-Barry, Steve Gronert Ellerhoff, Kathryn E. Engebretson, Paul Jenner, and Rachel Sykes."