Research

My forthcoming book, Inventing George Whitefield: Race, Revivalism, and the Making of a Religious Icon (U. Press of Mississippi: 2015) explores the evolution of eighteenth-century Anglican evangelist minister George Whitefield as a symbol shaped in the complexities of revivalism, the contest over religious toleration, and the conflicting role of Christianity for enslaved people.

I have two additional books in progress, both in early stages. One book is tentatively titled, ‘Twas Mercy Brought me from my Pagan Land:’ Conversion and Self-Making in the Black Atlantic.” It will examine the ways in which conversions complicated notions of freedom, race and status among black denizens of the British Atlantic. I am still in the early stages of researching and writing this book, but have some solicitations for the finished manuscript from academic presses. My analysis necessarily draws not only from slave narratives, literature, sermons, poems, and correspondences by black writers, but also from the writings of philosophers like Kant and Hume, and from the slave owners, traders, and clergy who contributed to the political, theological, and social ideas about “freedom,” “race” and “blackness.

The other book, which has a working title of “Plotting Piety,” explores the complexities of empire, religious pluralism, and revivalism, and how informal exchanges among the historical actors of the Providential Atlantic contributed to the shaping of that landscape.

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