Given the ubiquity of antiblackness in the world, black faith must consider an agenda of black care that interrogates the privileging of political ontology and recognition espoused in Black Liberation Theology and, subsequently, Black Practical Theology. Liberation and freedom, conceived in humanist discourses, including theology, miscalculate the relationship between liberation and antiblackness and the violence that structures the relation. The project meditates on a transformative fidelity grounded in God's presence within black pain and suffering, what I call black dolor. The spiritual materiality of this transformative fidelity emerges as black-on-black care. As a meditation drawing on the work of black radical feminists and the practices of Afro-Pentecostal women like my mother, the dissertation suggests how black-on-black care supplies black existence with meaning without privileging the metrics of humanism that structure the modern world's antiblackness.
As an intervention in Black Practical Theology, the project directly engages the chief contentions regarding blackness articulated by radical black feminists, afropessimists, and black optimist thinkers. Challenging the foundational liberal humanist and humanitarian assumptions foundational to Black liberational thought and its successors, namely Black Practical Theology; these thinkers recognize the human as parasitic to blackness. Blackness is not a kind of human, but non-human from which the human emerges, thus posing a problem for thinking liberation into the category of human as appropriate for the black. The black needs liberation from the human. This project considers the possibility of an intramural fidelity within blackness that welcomes a divine intervention, presence, and relationality that grounds thinking, imagining, and practicing intramural black care, or black-on-black care. Black on-black care potentializes undermining the political and ontological antiblack world by testifying against the world's idolatrous relationship with antiblackness and affirming the capacity within blackness to redress black dolor with black care. Ultimately, the project works to open a mystical theological path for thinking a Black Practical Theology that does not find its coordinates of liberation and wholeness within the antiblack logics of political ontology but in the practices of women like my mother, Delores.
Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1 – A BLACK FORMATION 9
CHAPTER 2: BLACK DOLOR, AN INESCAPABLE MATRIX 66
CHAPTER 2: DELORES WOUNDED 116
CHAPTER 3: HEMORRHAGE, HEALING, AND THE HOLY GHOST 150
(IN)CONCLUSION – SECOND-NAMING 170
About this Dissertation
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