Episode 40: Albert J. Raboteau’s Slave Religion: The “Invisible Institution” in the Antebellum South with Yvonne P. Chireau (History of History 9)

51-Lw-+Ei5L._SX302_BO1,204,203,200_Twenty-five years after its original publication, Slave Religion: The ‘Invisible Institution’ in the Antebellum South remains a classic in the study of African American history and religion. In a new chapter in this anniversary edition, author Albert J. Raboteau reflects upon the origins of the book, the reactions to it over the past twenty-five years, and how he would write it differently today. Using a variety of first and second-hand sources– some objective, some personal, all riveting– Raboteau analyzes the transformation of the African religions into evangelical Christianity. He presents the narratives of the slaves themselves, as well as missionary reports, travel accounts, folklore, black autobiographies, and the journals of white observers to describe the day-to-day religious life in the slave communities. Slave Religion: The ‘Invisible Institution’ in the Antebellum South is a must-read for anyone wanting a full picture of this “invisible institution.”

Albert J. Raboteau who came to Princeton in 1982, is a specialist in American religious history. His research and teaching have focused on American Catholic history, African-American religious movements and currently, he is working on the place of beauty in the history of Eastern and Western Christian Spirituality. He has written Slave Religion: The ‘Invisible Institution’ in the Antebellum South, A Fire in the Bones: Reflections on African-American Religious History, Immigration and Religion in America: Comparative and Historical Perspectives, and most recently American Prophets: Seven Religious Radicals & Their Struggle for Social and Political Justice. He was the first recipient of the J.W.C. Pennington Award from the University of Heidelberg and last Fall delivered the Stone Lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary. He retired in June, 2013.

chireauYvonne Chireau is the Department of Religion Chair at Swarthmore College and is an authority on African-based religions such as Santeria and Voodoo in America, religion and healing, and black American religion. She is also interested in religion and comics, manga, and graphic novels. The author of Black Magic: African American Religion and the Conjuring Tradition, she has also co-edited, with Nathaniel Deutsch, Black Zion: African American Religions and Judaism. She received her B.A from Mount Holyoke College, her M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School, and her Ph.D. from Princeton University.

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