The “What I Am Thinking About Now” series provides a collegial, productive workshop space for faculty and graduate students to present and discuss recently published work and work in progress. Scholars test ideas and receive feedback from a diverse and supportive group of scholars on Mondays throughout the semester.
Kera Street, Presidential Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Religious Studies
Pure Pursuits: Black Women’s Lived Religion in a Digital Age
For decades, evangelical Christians have given theological and cultural primacy to notions of purity, often pointing to the pure Christian subject as the answer to larger issues in the religious, social, and political world. But given the ways evangelicalism and its pure Christian subject are always imagined as white, what does it look like when black Christian women pursue purity as a spiritual aim? Based on two years of ethnographic fieldwork with an evangelical women’s group called Pinky Promise, Dr. Street’s talk examines how evangelical concerns for purity continue to surface in the contemporary moment—one marked increasingly by new media and digital technologies, and inherently organized by racial and gendered logics. With a focus on the faith practices of women in the Boston-area chapter of Pinky Promise, Dr. Street’s talk explores how black women strive to live good Christian lives in a digital age.
ABOUT THE PRESENTER
Kera Street is a Presidential Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow in Religious Studies at Brown University. She studies the religious ambitions of black Christian women and the ways they live, imagine, and practice their faith in a digital age. Her current project looks at a contemporary evangelical women’s movement called Pinky Promise to interrogate how members’ pious efforts are informed by racial, gendered, and class-based logics that conflate purity with whiteness. She has a BA in Religious Studies from Spelman College and a PhD in the Study of Religion from Harvard University. Her work has been supported by the Ford Foundation, the Louisville Institute, the Forum for Theological Exploration, and others.