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About This Webinar

Pitts Theology Library and the Institute for Signifying Scriptures invite you to a virtual event examining the forthcoming exhibition curated by Dr. Vincent Wimbush, "Masquerade: Scripturalizing Modernities Through Black Flesh," centered on the roles of race and scripture in the construction, naturalization, and maintenance of modernities. The event is a 2-day virtual symposium of panelists introducing, exploring, and responding to the themes Dr. Wimbush explores in the exhibition.

This exhibition invites the viewer to consider how we produce and make use of “scriptures” understood broadly as cultural discourse and media. This means seeing scriptures as reflective of the basic “play-element” in culture, as rites, performances (song and dance, etc.), and their varied veiling and unveiling operations and effects. Thus, the exhibition takes the title “Masquerade” as the term that captures what is the phenomenon before us.

In order to understand how reality is “masqueraded,” made up, and maintained, the exhibition takes up the freighted phenomenon of Race/Racialization/Racism as arguably the most complex and persistent vector or transporter of the modern masquerade. Race/racialization/Racism is focused particularly but not exclusively (after colonial-era points of contact) on Black-fleshed peoples--as powerful and disturbing and intensive drivers of the production and arrangement of modernities, for the making and structure of the modern Order of Things--what the curator terms “scripturalization” (and the related terms scripturalizing, scripturalism). Examination of how scripturalization works and what has propelled it is examined through focus on the persistent (hyper)signification of Black flesh.

The sharpness of this focus is facilitated by the window opened by a late eighteenth century English-speaking/-writing ex-slave, Olaudah Equiano/Gustavus Vassa, in his telling of his own “interesting,” complex life story, published in 1789. This narrative is used throughout the exhibition in order to stress some of the major workings and resultant implications and ramifications of the scripturalization of Black flesh for the construction of and responses to, and refractions of, modernities, the realities in which we all are imbedded.

The hope of the curator is that this exhibition and its accompanying panel event will provoke further thinking and conversation about how all of us have been formed, with what consequences, and what are special challenges ahead for us.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021: 1-4pm EST
Thursday, November 4, 2021: 9am-Noon EST


Dr. Vincent L. Wimbush, Curator
Scholar of Religion & Director
Institute for Signifying Scriptures

Dr. P. Kimberleigh Jordan
Associate Director of Educational Design
Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion

Dr. Miles P Grier
Assistant Professor, The Department of English
Queens College, City University of New York

Dr. Jacqueline Hidalgo
Chair and Professor of Latina/o Studies and Professor of Religion
Williams College

Dr. Rosetta E. Ross
Professor of Religion
Spelman College

Dr. Velma Love
Story Catalysts Coaching and Consulting
Adjunct Faculty, Interdisciplinary Studies
Interdenominational Theological Center

Dr. Cécile Coquet-Mokoko
Professor of US Cultural History, African American Studies and Gender Studies
Vice Dean of the College of Humanities
Université Versailles St Quentin
IECI, Département des Langues

Dr. Shay Welch
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Spelman College

Dr. Carolyn Jones Medine
Director, Institute for African American Studies, Professor of Religion
University of Georgia

Dr. Marla F. Frederick
Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Religion and Culture
Candler School of Theology, Emory University

Dr. Rachel Schwaller
Lecturer, Department of History
Department of Religious Studies
University of Kansas

[Explore the digital exhibition at pitts.emory.edu/masquerade]

Language: English
Who can attend? Everyone
Featured Presenters
Webinar hosting presenter
Director of Institute for Signifying Scriptures
VINCENT L. WIMBUSH, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized scholar of religion, intellectual leader, and academic gadfly, with more than thirty years of advanced graduate-level teaching and research experience. He is author/editor of more than twelve books, including 'White Men’s Magic: Scripturalization as Slavery,' 'MisReading America: Scriptures and Difference,' 'Theorizing Scriptures,' 'African Americans and the Bible,' and scores of articles and essays. He is founding director of The Institute for Signifying Scriptures (ISS) (www.signifyingscriptures.org), an international scholarly organization, and is conceptualizer and director of several collaborative trans-disciplinary research projects, including a documentary film (Finding God in the City of Angels) on the ethnography of scriptures. Recipient of numerous awards and research grants, he is past president of the Society of Biblical Literature.

Wimbush’s general teaching and research interests focus on the trans-disciplinary and comparative study of “scriptures” as sharp wedge for critical research and theorizing in the politics of language, social formation, consciousness, and orientation. His particular area of expertise turns around the uses of scriptures in the historical and contemporary circum-Black Atlantic as window onto the larger comparative phenomena and dynamics of scripturalizing and scripturalization.
Webinar hosting presenter
Moderator, Interdenominational Theological Center, Story Catalysts Coaching and Consulting
Velma E Love, author of Divining the Self: A Study in Yoruba Myth and Human Consciousness, is a sacred scholar, story teller, narrative coach and ancestral lineage healing practitioner.
Webinar hosting presenter
Assoc. Director, Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion
Webinar hosting presenter
Associate Dean for Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Chair and Professor of Latina/o Studies and Professor of Religion, Williams College
Webinar hosting presenter
Professor of Religion, Spelman College
Webinar hosting presenter
Director of the Institute for African American Studies, Professor of Religion
Webinar hosting presenter
Moderator, Lecturer, University of Kansas
Webinar hosting presenter
Professor of Cultural History of the USA, African American Studies, and Gender Studies, University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines
Webinar hosting presenter
Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Spelman College
Webinar hosting presenter
Assistant Professor of English, Queens College, City University of New York
Webinar hosting presenter
Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Religion and Culture, Candler School of Theology, Emory University
Hosted By
Pitts Theology Library webinar platform hosts 'Masquerade: Scripturalizing Modernities' Exhibition Panel
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