In Dark Symbols, Obscure Signs, Riggins R. Earl Jr. investigates how slave owners intentionally manipulated Christianity as they passed it on to slaves and demonstrates how slaves successfully challenged that distorted interpretation. Analyzing slaves’ response to Christianity as expressed in testimonies, songs, stories, and sermons, Earl reveals the conversion experience as the initial step toward an autonomy that defied white control. Contrary to what their white owners expected or desired, enslaved African Americans found in Christianity a life-affirming identity and strong sense of community.
Slave owners believed Christianity would instill docility and obedience, but the slaves discovered in the Bible a different message, sharing among themselves the “dark symbols and obscure signs” that escaped the notice of their captors. Finding a sense of liberation rather than submission in their conversion experience, slaves discovered their own self-worth and their values as children of God.
Originally published in 1993, Dark Symbols, Obscure Signs traces the legacy of slaves’ embrace of Christianity both during and after the slavery era. In a new introduction, the author places the book within the context of contemporary scholarship on the roots of the African American cultural experience. He argues that any interpretation of this experience must begin with a foundational study of the theological and ethical constructs that have shaped the way blacks understand themselves in relationship to God, their oppressors, and each other.
Deaf Sport describes the full ramifications of athletics for Deaf people, from the meaning of individual participation to the cultural bonding resulting from their organization. Deaf Sport profiles noted deaf sports figures and the differences particular to Deaf sports, such as the use of sign language for score keeping, officiating, and other communication.
This important book analyzes the governing and business aspects of Deaf sport, both local deaf groups and the American Athletic Association of the Deaf and the World Games for the Deaf. It shows the positive psychological and educational impact of Deaf sport, and how it serves to socialize further the geographically dispersed members of the Deaf community.
The explosion of digital information and communication technologies has influenced almost every aspect of contemporary life. Diasporas in the New Media Age is the first book-length examination of the social use of these technologies by emigrants and diasporas around the world. The eighteen original essays in the book explore the personal, familial, and social impact of modern communication technology on populations of European, Asian, African, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, and Latin American emigrants. It also looks at the role and transformation of such concepts as identity, nation, culture, and community in the era of information technology and economic globalization. The contributors, who represent a number of disciplines and national origins, also take a range of approaches—empirical, theoretical, and rhetorical—and combine case studies with thoughtful analysis. Diasporas in the New Media Age is both a discussion of the use of communication technologies by various emigrant groups and an engaging account of the immigrant experience in the contemporary world. It offers important insights into the ways that dispersed populations are using digital media to maintain ties with their families and homeland, and to create new communities that preserve their culture and reinforce their sense of identity. In addition, the book is a significant contribution to our understanding of the impact of technology on society in general.
Divine Signs is the concluding volume of the ethnographic trilogy about the communicative tensions in everyday American cultural life H. L. Goodall, Jr., began with Casing a Promised Land and continued with Living in the Rock n Roll Mystery.
In this final work, the terms for understanding these tensions are found in a historical and mythological drama featuring Power (as the embodiment of the modern), Other (as the embodiment of the postmodern), and Spirit (as the unifying power capable of connecting disparate selves to dangerously fragmented communities). For this study, the localized site of interpretation is in and around Pickens and Oconee Counties, South Carolina, where every day street signs, business advertisements on billboards, signs that announce church themes, Internet postings, and other forms of public communication that invite private meanings are read as rhetorical invitations to participate in these myths and mysteries.
Using themes discoverable in such public forms of communication, Goodall deconstructs a variety of communal experiences—from annual community celebrations to weekly therapy sessions in local beauty salons to the fall audience rituals of Clemson University football games—to gain a deeper appreciation of the unifying symbolic orders that enrich the interpretive possibilities of our lives and that serve as signs of our deeply spiritual connections to each other and to the planet.
In the last sections of the book, the interplays of Power, Other, and Spirit are read into and against a wide variety of everyday interpretive contexts, from Rush Limbaugh and talk radio to narratives about angels and stories about the transformative powers of spiritual practices in organizations. Goodall then asks the important question: Where are the themes of this mythological drama leading us? In the stunning conclusion, Goodall creates communicative, cultural, and spiritual challenges for us all.