Quilting Faith: African American Quilts as Source Material for Study of African American Religion
Matthews, Aundrea L
Pinn, Anthony B.
Doctor of Philosophy
Scholars of African American religion have done well to note the poignant role of cultural productions in the making, doing, and theorizing of religion and life options. Lacking in this discourse is critical attention to the religious significance of African American quilts, the quilters who make them, and the quilt-making process as source material for the study of African American religion. This dissertation adopts and thinks with the work of Anthony B. Pinn’s definition of African American religion as the quest for complex subjectivity, a desire or feeling for life meaning. Through a multi-disciplinary approach that draws on religious studies, sociology and art criticism/art history, the dissertation asserts that some African American quilters use scraps of mundane materials to craft visual testimonies that link the quest for complexity to everyday life. Research from the analyses allows scholars to gain deeper insight into the role of African American quilts in the expression of religion, and consider the cultural production of quilts as legitimate and viable source material for the study of African American religious life. Quilting Faith: African American Quilts as Source Material for the Study of African American Religion reveals that African American quilts are just as important to understanding African American religion as music, drama, dance, poetry, and slave narratives.
material culture; African American religion