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Spiritual Discourse in the Academy

A Globalized Indigenous Perspective

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Edited By Njoki Nathani Wane, Francis Akena Adyanga and Ahmed Ali Ilmi

Spiritual Discourse in the Academy focuses on the value of spirituality as a subjugated knowledge from globalized contexts. The book's central tenet is that spirituality is the core of one's intellectual growth and that its inclusion in education acknowledges the sum total of who we are. It not only offers strategies for transformative education, but also embraces global diversity and inclusive education for the twenty-first century.
The book also provides a detailed examination of spirituality from a global context, acknowledges the detrimental legacies of colonialism on indigenous spirituality, knowledge systems, traditional justice systems, and on indigenous peoples. Spiritual Discourse in the Academy reaches out to educators, scholars, and students who are interested in the multiple roles of spirituality in schooling and society at large. It can be used for teaching courses in spirituality, education, religious studies, and cultural studies.
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Chapter Twelve: The Creative Individual: Identity Construction and Individuality in African American Spirituality

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   CHAPTER TWELVE

The Creative Individual: Identity Construction and Individuality in African American Spirituality

MARGARITA SIMON GUILLORY

INTRODUCTION

This chapter calls for a functionalist approach to African American spirituality that centers on individuality and identity formation. Specifically, the three sections of this chapter offer a robust view of African American spirituality as it operates in the everyday experiences of individuals of African descent. The initiating section presents a brief literature review of scholarly attempts to define African American spirituality. These attempts are primarily driven by the privileging of the collective function of African American spirituality. The second section introduces an alternative definition, one premised on individuality, creativity, and identity formation. African American spirituality here is posited as creative medium that individuals utilize as raw material to construct multiple forms of identity. Identity formation of this kind captures individuality without marginalizing collectivity. The final section represents the praxis portion of the chapter. Rituals of African American Spiritual(ist) churches—concrete representations of African American spirituality—are examined in order to illustrate how these ecclesiastical spaces provide media that individuals employ to create complex notions of self. The section terminates with a brief discussion of major implications of this approach to spirituality for African American religious studies. ← 191 | 192 →

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