Historian of religion Charles H. Long's landmark text, Significations: Signs, Symbols, and Images in the Interpretation of Religion (1986), has served as a lynchpin for the interdisciplinary study of black religion and culture since its original publication more than a quarter of a century ago. This article focuses on how Long's masterwork has stimulated innovative theories and methods utilised in analysing the origins and varieties of black religious experience in the wake of New World slavery that often have been subsumed under the heavy‐laden concept of “Black religion.” Additionally, this article contextualises the influential nature of Long's work upon the history of black religions in the modern world as modalities of both orientation and meaning‐making by emphasising the book's powerful descriptions and critical analyses of black religious phenomenology. Through a historiography of New World slavery, religion, and culture within the context of the Black Atlantic, this article identifies a cluster of major theoretical paradigms illustrated by recent, far‐ranging studies of race, religion, and culture at the height of the African enslavement in the circum‐Atlantic world.
Journal of Religious History – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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