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Religions 2017, 8(10), 219; doi:10.3390/rel8100219

Remembering the Neighborhood: Church, Disability, and Religious Memory

Columbia Theological Seminary, PO Box 520, Decatur, GA 30031, USA
A version of this article was first given as a conference paper, “Touching the Distant Other: Remembering Spivak’s ‘Harlem,’ Recalling Absalom Jones,” at the North American Academy of Liturgy in January 2015.
Received: 18 August 2017 / Revised: 27 September 2017 / Accepted: 30 September 2017 / Published: 10 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Disability, and Social Justice: Building Coalitions)
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Abstract

This article focuses on rituals of community life within a North American church in which many of the congregants live with psychiatric disabilities and whose participation in religious life is affected by their experiences of poverty and gentrification. I begin by exploring an aesthetic practice of remembrance that the postcolonial scholar Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak identifies and performs in an essay entitled “Harlem”. Drawing upon Spivak’s description of an imaginative practice she identifies as “teleiopoiesis” and my own ethnographic research, including participant observation and interviews, I analyze an example of how this community incorporates visual art into its practices of communal memory as part of one church’s weeklong liturgy. I then argue for the church’s gathering of members from across the city as a practice of remembrance across time and space that confronts the structures and injustices of urban life that challenge the communal identity emerging from this congregation’s religious practices. View Full-Text
Keywords: memory; disability; church; gentrification; mental illness; liturgy; Spivak memory; disability; church; gentrification; mental illness; liturgy; Spivak
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Spurrier, R.F. Remembering the Neighborhood: Church, Disability, and Religious Memory. Religions 2017, 8, 219.

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