Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Race, History, and Christian Intellectuals

I'm currently reading J. Kameron Carter's book, Race: A Theological Account with an interdisciplinary group of faculty from across the college (and the seminary). Much to ponder here, and it will take me til next spring to digest it, but I couldn't resist sharing this gem from the end of chapter 3 (on Albert Raboteau, author of the groundbreaking book, Slave Religion). Throughout the chapter, Carter is pursuing fundamental questions about what history would (or should) look like for a Christian intellectuals, and then expands the scope of his question in this way:

"What would it mean to refuse dialectical intellectual arrangements altogether, arrangements that allow us to neatly but insistently sequester the dispositions of faith from the dispositions of the modern academic, and then rewrite history, do literary criticism or philosophy or sociology or political science or what have you as Christian intellectuals? What would the intellectual life then look like? How would [Raboteau's] Slave Religion have to be rewritten? But more to the broader issues of this book, how much more would the pseudotheological backbone of whiteness be broken for the sake of the redemption of us all, were we to escape the intellectual dispositions of whiteness and the ambiguities of blackness that it creates?" (p. 156)