Anthropology of a Church
This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book's main themes. This book provides insight into how a community of contemporary African Americans understands itself through an analysis of the words of its members on the topics of blackness, middle-class status, and gender politics. It offers an ethnographic analysis of the lived experience of these identities in the context of an Afrocentric religious community. Finally, it considers the ways in which blackness is performed, defined, and negotiated with attention to the dynamics inherent within blackness, essentialism, and heterogeneity; the tension between blackness and another axis of identity, middle-class status; and the relationship between two conceptualizations of blackness, Afrocentric ideology and womanist theology.
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