Between Sundays: Black Women and Everyday Struggles of Faith

Between Sundays: Black Women and Everyday Struggles of Faith

Between Sundays: Black Women and Everyday Struggles of Faith

Between Sundays: Black Women and Everyday Struggles of Faith


"A wonderful ethnographic study of the role of religion in a southern rural community. Through a complex and fascinating array of African American women's voices, Marla Frederick speaks to the power of religious consciousness for social change today."--Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, Professor of History and Afro-American Studies, Harvard University

"Every once in a great while, a work that is remarkable, original, and truly distinguished rises to the top of the pile of books glutting American bookstores-and this is that one. Between Sundays may just reshape the entire field, obliging scholars and educated readers to consider African American religion and gender in a new, fantastic light."--R. Marie Griffith, Princeton University, author of "God's Daughters: Evangelical Women and the Power of Submission

"Frederick has made an extremely significant contribution to the literature of African American women's religious histories and experience. A powerful and engaging portrait of a fascinating group of black Southern women. "--Judith Weisenfeld, Associate Professor of Religion, Vassar College, and author of "African American Women and Christian Activism


“Spirituality is so central to scholarship on women's culture and women's liberation that we can't discuss liberation or empowerment for women without also discussing women's spirituality. ”

Dilla Buckner, “Spirituality, Sexuality, and Creativity: A Conversation with Margaret Walker-Alexander”

To study African American women's spirituality is to embark upon a project that is at once tangible and yet distinctly intangible. For those in theological studies, it is to assume a priori knowledge about the realm of the spirit and how this life of the spirit is manifested in the flesh. For those engaged in the social and anthropological study of religion it is to assume very little about the spirit and yet everything about its manifestation in the flesh—namely, how people act out in society a particular understanding of spirituality. My own research attempts to mediate between these two perspectives by focusing on the social and political aspects of religious commitment while resisting the reductionism of the spiritual to the material inherent in that perspective.

Between Sundays explores the role of spirituality in the cultural production of activism in the lives of African American women in northeastern North Carolina, a poor, rural area of the U. S. South. “Spirituality” provides a space for creative agency, which gives voice to the multifaceted ways in which women interpret, inform, and reshape their social conditions. These social conditions—often characterized by limited access to job opportunities, community health, health care, and equitable schooling—are the day-to—day concerns that influence and are influenced by women's spirituality.

This work developed out of intellectual frustration. It seemed that much of social science approached spirituality and issues of faith from a vantage point that reduced religion to a series of signs, symbols, rituals . . .

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