When James Hal Cone (1936-2018) first published Black Theology and Black Power in 1969, he launched a fundamental transformation in the study of race through its connection to both the institutional life of religion, Black political insurgency, and the scholarly study of Black religious thought. As Cone would later explain, Black Theology and Black Power derived from his experience of “metanoia,” a conversion to Blackness that was manifested in a global Black consciousness movement, the soulful music of Billie Holiday, the rebellions underway in Black ghettoes, the prophetic theology of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the unapologetic affirmation of Black identity and Black culture espoused by the Muslim minister Malik Shabazz (Malcolm X). Cone’s work also connected to the global formations of anticolonialism that emphasized decolonizing the intellectual apparatus of Black scholars and affirming the aesthetic dimensions of Blackness—the Black Arts movement and such writers as Frantz Fanon exemplify the stakes of this radical transformation. This seminal text by Cone marked the rise of the modern liberation theology movement and established Black theology’s radical departure from the epistemological norms of White theology. The transnational dynamics of Black theology also emerged in such movements as the anti-apartheid activism of Black theologians in South Africa. Over his career, Cone produced more than a dozen books attesting to the Black radical tradition’s urgent significance for the social life of religious institutions and the intellectual imagination that should guide the scholarly study of Black religious thought, liberation imperatives, and Black culture.
In 2019, the Journal of Africana Religions will recognize the 50th anniversary of Black Theology and Black Power through disseminating a special issue of the journal. This issue will feature attention to the intellectual legacy of James H. Cone himself as well as the broader scholarship on Africana religions that has emerged through the paradigm shifts and epistemological transformations that led to the irruption of Black liberation theology—decolonizing methods, liberationist political movements, the Black Arts movement, Black consciousness, anti-apartheid activism, and religious activism rooted in social justice.
We invite the following:
Those interested should submit a 150-word proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org by
July 31, 2018. Final manuscripts must be submitted by November 1, 2018.