Symposium | The Afterlives of Amazing Grace: Religion and the Making of Black Music in a Post-Soul Age

Event time: 
Tuesday, April 11, 2017 - 10:30am to 4:45pm
ISM Great Hall See map
409 Prospect St.
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 

The daylong symposium offers an invitation to consider a bundle of questions associated with the entangled trajectories of contemporary Christianity and black popular music — from Gospel, to Praise and Worship, and Hip Hop — in the years since Aretha Franklin’s chart-topping album, Amazing Grace (1972). Bringing together academics, artists, journalists, and industry leaders for a one-day public dialogue at Yale University, we will consider developments—from the naming and overlap between different musical genres, the blurring of racial lines and blending of church traditions, and the emergence of new technologies and media forms—in Christian music, the cultural marketplace, and black churches in the post-Soul Era. To set the longer historical context for this dialogue, we will begin the evening of April 10 by reflecting on the early years of Gospel music with a screening and discussion of the classic documentary Say Amen, Somebody (1982).

Organized by ISM Fellow Josef Sorett and Ambre Dromgoole, MAR ‘17


Feel free to attend all or part of the symposium. No registration required.

10:30 AM-12:00 PM Panel I: Structures, Sources, Histories (moderated by Daphne Brooks)

Robert Darden, Baylor University. “We Still Overcome: Black Sacred Protest Music from the Civil War to #blacklivesmatter”

Emily Lordi, University of Massachusetts-Amherst. “ ‘Never Catch Me’: False Endings from Soul to Post-Soul”

Matthew Morrison, New York University. “When Was Black Secular Music Ever Not Sacred?”


1:30 PM-3:00 PM Panel II: Communities, Genres, Futures (moderated by Melinda Weekes-Laidlow)

Birgitta Johnson, University of South Carolina. “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?: Worship Wars in the Post-Soul Black Church”

Alisha Lola Jones, Indiana University. “’You Are My Dwelling Place’: Experiencing Black Male Vocalists’ Worship As Autoeroticism in Gospel Performance”

Daniel Moore, Songwriter and Producer. “Figure It Out”


3:00 PM-3:30 PM               Coffee Break

3:30 PM-4:30 PM               Keynote Lecture

Mark Anthony Neal, Duke University

4:30 PM-4:45 PM               Final Remarks 

Open to: 
General Public