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The Burden of Black Religion$
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Curtis J. Evans

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195328189

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195328189.001.0001

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 The Social Sciences and the Professional Discipline of Black Religion

 The Social Sciences and the Professional Discipline of Black Religion

Chapter:
(p.105) 3 The Social Sciences and the Professional Discipline of Black Religion
Source:
The Burden of Black Religion
Author(s):

Curtis J. Evans (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195328189.003.0004

Social sciences pathologized the religious experience of black southerners at the turn of the 20th century. The new psychology of G. Stanley Hall and his disciples was a major northern cultural authority that provided an ideology for the oppression of blacks in the South. New psychologists, building on the popular theories of white Protestant missionaries and educators (in the South and abroad) severed the connection between black religion and the moral sense (that is, ethics or morality) by arguing that black religion had no effect on blacks' moral life and was simply depraved emotionalism. By thus pathologizing black religion, the social scientists supported widespread claims of black degeneracy and argued that a naturally criminal and immoral African character was the culprit for the oppression that blacks endured at the hands of the lynch mobs and the state in the Jim Crow South. The new psychology theorized black religion as the emotional effluvium of primitive childlike minds and thus rendered blacks as archaic outsiders in an industrial modern nation.

Keywords:   social sciences, new psychology, G. Stanley Hall, emotionalism, moral sense, black religion, black degeneracy, African character, lynch mobs, primitive

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