DESIRE AND DISPLACEMENT IN CHRISTOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE: RACE, REDEMPTION, AND CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP Open Access

Armstrong, Amaryah Shaye (2012)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/kk91fm322?locale=en
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Abstract


This thesis is primarily a set of close readings in which I interrogate physical and
figurative displacements as a way into Christology. In part one of my thesis, I read Kathryn
Tanner's account of human nature, as characterized by its plasticity and ability to be formed,
alongside Hortense Spillers' readings of the "Middle Passage" and Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in
the Life of a Slave Girl. Here, I show how human nature's plasticity is fundamentally a
vulnerability to movement which is open to exploitation through acts of displacement that
are driven by disordered desires. Taking events of black displacement as my starting place, I
argue that black people's ontological and particular situation as subject-objects within the
logic of white supremacy is the doubled figure of blackness by which white subjectivity and
desires are formed. In part two, I respond to this problem of vulnerability and displacement
by exploring how the Incarnation reopens the enslaved body as the body of Christ. Through
a reading of St. Maximus the Confessor on movement, I explore how it is that Christ's work
of redemption reorders desire, not through an exploitation of human vulnerability, but by
inhabiting it in an excessively perfect way. I find this excess provides the possibility of
resignifying the black body/being, whose meaning as human is foreclosed by oppressive
systems of dominance, through practices of Christian discipleship that displace and decenter
the self as acts of reconstituting the self.


DESIRE AND DISPLACEMENT IN CHRISTOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE:
RACE, REDEMPTION, AND CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP


B.A., Belmont University, 2010
Thesis Committee Chair: Ian A. McFarland, Ph.D
A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the
Candler School of Theology
in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Theological Studies
2012

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Problems and Possibilities of Displacement ....................................................1

Prelude: A Brief History of "Race" as a Concept .............................................................................8

Immanuel Kant and the Knowledge of "Race" .................................................................. 12

Science, "Race", and Sexuality ................................................................................................ 19

Part I: The Displacement of Desire ................................................................................................. 23

Human Nature, Desire, and Displacement .......................................................................... 24

The Displacement of Desire .................................................................................................. 31

Aporetic Openings ................................................................................................................... 47

Part II: Desire and Displacement in Christological Perspective ................................................. 50

Movement, Human Nature, and Redemption ..................................................................... 51

Displacement, Desire, and Christian Discipleship .............................................................. 63

Prayer, Protest, and Christian Praxis ..................................................................................... 67

Into the Aporia: Blackness as Theopolitical Strategy ......................................................... 83

Bibliography ........................................................................................................................................ 85

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