Spiritual and Social Transformation in African American Spiritual Churches

More than Conjurers

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Margarita Simon Guillory
Routledge Studies in Religion
  • New York, NY: 
    , January
     182 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


At the core of African American religion’s response to social inequalities has been a symbiotic relationship between socio-political activism and spiritual restoration. Drawing on archival material and ethnographic fieldwork with African American Spiritual Churches in the USA, this book examines how their spiritual and social work can shed light on the interplay between corporate activism and individual spirituality.

This book traces the development of this "politico-spiritual" approach to injustice from the beginning of the twentieth century through the opening decade of the twenty-first century, using the work of African American Spiritual Churches as a lens through which to observe its progression. Addressing subjects such as spiritual healing, support of the homeless, gender equality and the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, it demonstrates that these communities are clearly motivated by the dual concerns of the soul and the community.

This study diversifies our understanding of the African American religious landscape, highlighting an approach to social injustice that conjoins both political and spiritual transformations. As such, it will be of significant interest to scholars of religious studies, African American studies and politics.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Margarita Simon Guillory is Assistant Professor of Religion at the University of Rochester. She is the co-editor of the volume entitled Esotericism in African American Religious Experience and the co-author of Breaking Bread, Breaking Beats: Churches and Hip Hop—A Basic Guide to Key Issues. In addition to these works, she has published articles in the Journal of Gnostic Studies, Culture and Religion, and Pastoral Psychology.

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