“‘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.
Download Post as PDF
Download Post as Word
Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!
Jason Craige Harris is a third-year master's candidate in Black Religion in the African Diaspora and a Marquand merit scholar at Yale Divinity School, where he was recently awarded the Mary Cady Tew Prize for exceptional ability in history and ethics. He earned a bachelor’s in religion and African-American studies from Wesleyan University and received the Giffin Prize for excellence in the Study of Religion, Spurrier Award for ethics, and an official citation for academic excellence issued by the 2009 Connecticut General Assembly. As a fellow at Wesleyan’s Center for the Humanities and a recipient of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, Harris wrote a senior honors thesis analyzing theological anthropologies along political and racial fault lines in U.S. Evangelical history. His research and writing are principally concerned with black life, Christianity, (post)colonialism, violence, feminisms, critical social theory, and ultimately planetary flourishing. Concerns arising from the academic study of Africana religion, philosophy, and ethics particularly inform his inquiries. Through an interdisciplinary framework, he probes the systems of values that undergird dominant epistemological, rhetorical, cultural, and religious forms to determine to what extent, if at all, they conduce to robust conceptions of justice. With an eye toward contemporary social problems, he considers the religious strategies and visions that historically marginalized peoples have created to respond to conditions of living and being delimited by restrictive understandings of race, gender, religion, and nation. He is a general editor at the Journal of Postcolonial Networks, where, among other things, he helps to facilitate conversations on race and postcolonial/liberation theologies. As a Christian minister and budding public intellectual, Harris seeks and invites others into more holistic and attuned, less violent and constrained, ways of narrating the self and the divine.
Areas of Interest and Research:
African American Religious Studies
African American Moral, Social, and Political Thought
African American Intellectual History
Liberation and Postcolonial (Christian) Thought
Philosophies of Liberation
Contemporary Religious Thought
Race, Gender, and American Christianities
Evangelicalisms and Pentecostalisms
Histories of Race Discourse in the Americas
(Christian) Social Ethics
Critical Social Theory/Social Philosophy
Theories of Race, Gender, and Power
Method and Theory in the Study of Religion
He is deeply committed to a praxis in which dualities of mind/heart, mind/body, and emotions/thought are consistently challenged and replaced with integrated models of selfhood that cherish self-multiplicity - the point at which the postcolonial becomes self-consciously embodied. He also enjoy taking walks in the coolness of the day, singing, laughing, and writing poetically and theoretically on his lived experience, whatever helps to bring more beauty and justice into the world.