Past Event

The Problem of the Unthought: Black Studies and the Study of Religion - Past/Present/ Futures

September 28, 2023 - September 29, 2023
10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
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Fall Conference

"The Problem of the Unthought: Black Studies and the Study of Religion - Past/Present/ Futures"

Thursday, September 28 and Friday, September 29, 2023
Columbia University in the City of New York City


Our  two-day conference is organized around a series of conversations (rather than formal paper presentations) and will also feature an opening “state of the field” roundtable,  with a final dialogue focused on the role of public-facing scholarship. Each conversation is organized around a specific “discipline,” (or “approach”), if you will, within the broader interdisciplinary mode of intellectual inquiry named as Black Studies.
Each conversation will be organized by a series of a shared questions (to be provided closer to the conference date) facilitated by a moderator, who will help to explore the place of religion in the context of Black studies with a focus on how the “discipline” (i.e. literary studies, history, anthropology, etc.) helps us to think through, and theorize, the significance of religion in the making of Black social life.

Event Location: Thursday, September 28, 2023
Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism-3rd Floor Lecture Hall
2950 Broadway, New York, NY 10027

Event Location: Friday, September 29, 2023
Columbia University Faculty House- 4th floor Skyline Ballroom
64 Morningside Drive , New York, NY 10027

You can view the conference from our Live Stream or YouTube Channel


Thursday 9/28: Day 1

Friday 9/29: Day 2



Thursday 9/28: Day 1

Friday 9/29: Day 2


DAY 1: Thursday, September 28, 2023

10:00-10:30 Welcome and Opening Remarks
Josef Sorett, Columbia University
Tiffany Hale, Barnard College
Joseph Winters, Duke University

10:30am-12:30pm Africana / Indigeneity / Invisibility : A Roundtable on Black Studies and
the Study of Religion

Moderator: Jason Young, University of Michigan
1. Youseff Carter, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
2. Eziaku Nwokocha, University of Miami
3. Xavier Pickett, Cornell University
4. J.T. Roane Rutgers University
5. Ashley Coleman Taylor, University of Texas-Austin

12:30-2:00pm Lunch (on your own)

2:00-3:30pm Literature & Texts

Moderator: Monica Coleman, University of Delaware
1. Karla Holloway, Duke University (Emeritus)
2. Maurice Wallace, Rutgers University
3. Jarvis McInnis, Duke University

3:45-5:15pm Archives and Fields

Moderator: Ahmad Greene-Hayes, Harvard Divinity School
1. Barbara Savage, University of Pennsylvania (Emeritus)
2. Deborah Thomas, University of Pennsylvania
3. Khalil Johnson, Wesleyan University


DAY 2: Friday, September 29, 2023

10:30am-12:00pm Theories/Methods I: Philosophy, Critical Thought, Theology

Moderator: Andrea White, Union Theological Seminary
1. William Hart, Macalester College
2. Shatema Threadcraft, Vanderbilt University
3. Clifton Granby, Yale Divinity School

12:00-1:30pm Lunch (on your own)

1:30 - 3:00pm Theories/Methods II: Gender, Sexuality & Queer Religious Life

Moderator: Jafari Allen, Columbia University
1. Jennifer Morgan, New York University
2. Shamara Alhassan, Arizona State University
3. Alexis Oghoghomeh-Wells, Stanford University

3:15-4:45pm Religion and the Public Lives of Black Studies

Moderator: M. Brandon McCormack, University of Louisville
1. Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Independent Scholar
2. Lerone Martin, Stanford University
3. Nyle Fort, Columbia University

4:45-5:00pm Final Remarks
Josef Sorett


Media  Co-Sponsors
Department of Religion, Columbia University
The Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life, Columbia University
The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
The Institute for the Study of Sexuality and Gender, Columbia University
The Barnard Center for Research on Women
The Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, Columbia University

Columbia University makes every effort to accommodate individuals with disabilities.
Please notify us if you need any assistance [email protected] or 212-854-7080 at least 5 days before the event.
Alternatively, Disability Services can be reached at 212.854.2388 and [email protected]