Joseph Williams F'21

Joseph  Williams
Doctoral Candidate
History
Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2021
Doctoral Candidate
History
Rutgers University-New Brunswick
Black Club Women, the Production of Religious Thought, and the Making of an Intellectual Movement, 1854-1933

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Black women in the club movement frequently convened across the country to discuss the metaphysical, human nature, morality, the afterlife, and other abstract ideas. Social events, public debates, and books informed their deliberations. The conventional wisdom among scholars characterizes the club movement as a genteel crusade for communal reform orchestrated by middle-class Black Protestant women. “Black Club Women, the Production of Religious Thought, and the Making of an Intellectual Movement” reinterprets the club movement as a pluralistic campaign fueled by Black women's informal study of religious and philosophical thought. Using periodicals, eulogies, psychic readings, organizational reports, autobiographies, and memoirs, this project unveils the syncretic approach club women adopted in their conceptualization of the immaterial and as a means of social resistance.