Ashon Crawley


“‘The body’—as a concept—goes hand-in-hand and, in my opinion, should come before discussions of sexuality generally, homosexuality in particular. On the other hand, I realize that this distinction, given the incarnational nature of Pentecostalism where ‘the body’ is the privileged site for holy behavior—is illusory at best. That is, we are always talking about bodies and their behaviors, the efficaciousness of what they do—through the pleasure they both prompt and receive, through the pleasure about which they both avert and of which they are embarrassed—toward or against ideologies of holiness and righteousness. I want to consider the distinction given —of the body from its behaviors—as being between the distinction of world—which indexes the concept of making, of creating—and earth, which indexes the concept of that which is given as gift. This distinction is the one between, most fundamentally, body and flesh.”


Ashon Crawley is a doctoral candidate in English at Duke University. His research focuses on the performance of race, gender, sexuality and religion. His dissertation project, tentatively titled “Historicity and Black Studies: the Aesthetics of Pentecost,” is about the theological-ethical force of blackness, given in the historicity of practices such as Shouting [dancing flesh], Testimony Service [enunciative voice], Whooping [eclipsing breath] and Glossolalia [unknown language]. More than the “merely aesthetic,” he argues that these practices are philosophical, critiquing the disciplining of and resistance to [black] sociality that animates Enlightenment philosophy. He received his BA from University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Theological Studies degree from Emory University.

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