Recovering the Bones was a two-day academic conference hosted by the Museum. The conference explores the relationship between black religious traditions and material objects by bringing together scholars from a variety of academic disciplines including, folklore studies, archeology, religious history, literature, philosophy, anthropology, art history, ethnomusicology and religious studies. 

Conference participants convened to examine the varied ways material objects and religious memory have helped shape African American history and culture. Through a focus on material culture, the conference will extend contemporary scholarship on African American religion through the generation of religious knowledge beyond more traditional text based approaches to the study of Black religion. Religious objects examined include: clothing, art, sacred texts, musical instruments, objects appropriated from the natural world, and embodied religious practices.

Confirmed Guests

Dr. Charles H. Long, University of California at Santa Barbara
Dr. Yvonne Chireau, Swarthmore College
Dr. Dianne M. Stewart, Emory University
Dr. David Douglas Daniels III, McCormick Theological Seminary
Dr. Erica Moiah James, University of Miami
Dr. Joyce Marie Jackson, Louisiana State University
Dr. Whitney Battle-Baptiste, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Dr. Melvin L. Butler, University of Miami
Dr. Qiana J. Whitted, University of South Carolina
Dr. Ashon T. Crawley, University of Virginia
Dr. Nimi Wariboko, Boston University
Dr. Michael Blakey, College of William & Mary
Dr. Sylviane Diouf, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library

Conference Schedule:

Friday, October 27th

8:15 – 8:50 a.m.: Conference Registration
9:00 –11:00 a.m.: Academic Panel I: Black Religion, Matter and Imagination” Featuring: Dr, William Blakey, Dr. Yvonne Chireau, and Dr. David Daniels
11:30—1:00 p.m.: Lunch Break
1:15—3:15 p.m.: Academic Panel II: Archaeologies of Black Material Religion” Featuring: Dr. Whitney Battle-Baptiste, Dr. Sylviane Diouf, and Dr. Joyce Jackson.
3:30—5:00 p.m.: Keynote Address: Dr. Charles Long, “In the Matter of Color: Bodies in Time and Configurations of Spaces."

Saturday, October 28th

8:15—8:50 a.m.: Conference Registration
9:00—11:00 a.m.: Academic Panel III: Religion and Matter in the Black Atlantic World” Featuring: Dr. Erica James, Dr. Dianne Stewart, and Dr. Nimi Wariboko
11:30—1:00 p.m.: Lunch Break
1:15—3:15 p.m.: Academic Panel IV:Black Material Religion, Art and Aesthetics” Featuring: Dr. Melvin Butler, Dr. Ashon Crawley, and Dr. Qiana Whitted
3:30—5:00 p.m.: Artistic Performance (TBA)

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