Postcolonial Blackness

“Postcolonial Blackness constructs Black Christian ethics in conversation with ordinary Black folks as they wrestle with, imagine, and live out Black well-being. ”

Team Members/Contributors

Shari Chana Madkins Mackinson Emory University Contact Me

About this dissertation fellowship

Black religious communities share a long history of providing Black people spaces to worship, mobilize for justice, create community, and reaffirm their humanity and worth. Black theology and ethics function constructively and contribute to the analysis of Black faith. They offer moral imperatives and energize the Black faithful towards action. Religious clergy and academics, however, too often speak from places of authority and privilege. What I call “Postcolonial Blackness” attempts to further black liberation traditions that defy such privilege and instead advocate that God stands on the side of the oppressed. I conduct focus groups and interviews with formerly incarcerated Black women to elicit their moral sources and moral authorities. By beginning with a population on Black America’s margins, I propose a methodology whereby scholars construct theology and ethics in conversation with ordinary Black people – particularly some of Black America’s most marginalized populations.

Rather than writing descriptively about or even prescriptively for Black people, this project writes constructively with them. In doing so, Postcolonial Blackness probes the possibilities for Black identity and Black moral leadership to emerge from unassuming places. Informed by postcolonial theory and theology, this project proposes a new way of being black, producing a new way of doing black theology and ethics. Postcolonial black ethics emerges from ordinary black people wrestling with, imagining, and living out Black well-being.