Dr. J. Kameron Carter
Augsburger Lecture Series

Religion Otherwise: A Lyric at the End of Time

February 27, 2024 at 7pm EST

This event will be held in Martin Chapel.  


Nancy Elizabeth Bedford, Augsburger Lecturer 2022About Dr. J. Kameron Carter

Professor of Religious Studies                                                            University of California, Irvine

Bio: J. Kameron Carter was Professor of Religious Studies and English at Indiana University and before that Professor of Theology and English at Duke University. He has just become Professor of Comparative Literature, Religion, and African American Studies at the University of California, Irvine. Professor Carter engages questions of race and ecology with religion and literature. More generally, he explores political theology. He is the author of Race: A Theological Account (Oxford University Press, 2008), editor of Religion and the Futures of Blackness (2013), and editor of The Matter of Black Religion (2021). His latest book is The Anarchy of Black Religion: A Mystic Song (Duke University Press, 2023), which inaugurates “The Black Study of Religion” trilogy, a multivolume project that redefines religion at the crossroads of ecology and black study. The Religion of Whiteness: An Apocalyptic Lyric, the next volume in this multivolume project, is forthcoming from Yale University Press. His lecture draws from this project.

Religion Otherwise: A Lyric at the End of Time

Abstract: Neither domestically nor globally have we figured out how to grieve the world that whiteness created. But how does a culture grieve, and what happens when a culture refuses to grieve the violence it hosts? W. E. B. Du Bois’s apocalyptic short story, “The Comet” (1920), may help. In the story, Du Bois wonders if even the end of time through the world’s collision with an asteroid can bring forth a world of flourishing after whiteness, a world for the flourishing of all. In this talk, I guide us through Du Bois’s story, reading it between Saidiya Hartman’s recent speculative fiction (“Litany for Grieving Sisters”) and poet-theologian Delores Williams’s convergent engagements with antiblackness and Palestine-Israel in her exegetical tarrying with the biblical Genesis stories about Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, and Ishmael (Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk). What we learn is that we are in a crisis of religion, indeed, that religion itself must be thought otherwise. What I offer through black study is another way to get at religion’s outside, where outside is the place and time of another kind of mo(u)rning and gathering practice of life together, one that in his story Du Bois tries to anticipate and that black feminist writers say is after and with those forgotten and yet grieving in the wilderness. Hopefully in the nick of time, this talk is a lyric at the end of time.

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