Saturday, January 17, 2009

Spirit, Structure, and Flesh: my friend Deidre Crumbley's new book

I am just back from the book party for my friend Deidre's new book, held at St. Ambrose, Raleigh, a historically African American Episcopal church. The publisher (a university press) priced the book high and it's a hardback, but I am happy to say that Deidre's friends showed up and bought a lot of books -- and the founder of the church's Jazz Mass Quartet came and played the saxophone! There was food, particularly some excellent spinach balls. And a big cake saying "Congratulations." Here's a reproduction of the book cover.

It's a fascinating book and Dr. Crumbley (that's Deidre) has worked on it for something like 20 years. Four years of field work in Nigeria, countless rewrites, and the search for a publisher, plus illness and search for funding and all manner of obstacles. I gather there was also a cat involved at some point. Of course.

Rejoice with Deidre in her great achievement!

By the way, there are now members of African Initiated Churches, including the Aladura churches in this book, here in the U.S. -- including here in North Carolina. As Deidre noted in her short talk at the party, the African Diaspora did not end with slavery; indeed, our President-Elect is a child of this diaspora. So the African Initiated Churches, which began in the 20th century as indigenous African forms of Christianity, have migrated to other continents and are undergoing changes there.

More on the book on the publisher's website here. The full name of the book is Spirit, Structure, And Flesh: Gendered Experiences in African Instituted Churches among the Yoruba of Nigeria.

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