James Noel, H. Eugene Farlough, Jr. Chair of African American Christianity and Professor of American Religion, San Francisco Theological School. Respondent: Naomi Seidman, Koret Professor of Jewish Culture and Director of the Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies, Graduate Theological Union.
"I am very surprised, humbled and excited about receiving this honor," Noel said. "My lecture will relate several things that are never brought together in most discourses about modernity: revolution, the aesthetic category of 'the sublime' and black religion. I will be using some of William Turner’s paintings along with Edmund Burke’s A Philosophical Enquiry into the Sublime and Beautiful to engage in the type of excavation I am proposing."
"What I notice is that black people and their religions rarely constitute items of theoretical reflection in academic discourses on modernity and post-modernity. The nature of the West is never illuminated by what blacks undergo by the West — its cultural identity is self-generated. Blackness remains marginal even when such categories as alterity, hybridity and otherness are invoked. This lecture will offer me the opportunity to extend what I began reflection on in [my book] Black Religion & the Imagination of Matter in the Atlantic World and clarify the research I will be doing on my sabbatical this Fall semester by sharing my thinking with my distinguished GTU colleagues."