James Anthony Noel
108 Bolinas Avenue
My field of expertise is American Religious/Church History. The foci of my research are the History of African American Christianity, Black Religion in African and the Americas, and African American Social, Cultural and Intellectual History. These areas obviously have a great amount of overlap. For example, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.s speeches fall simultaneously within the disciplines of US History, Black Church Studies, and African American Social History. King's sermons can also be studied within the framework of African American Folk Culture. I also approach my study and practice of African American visual art from this perspective--art is, among other things, story telling.
While I believe that religion can never be reduced to anything extraneous to the religious phenomenon itself, I am constantly fascinated and challenged by the difficulty we encounter in trying to describe the relation between religious experience, social identity, and historical events.
I see this as not only one of the essential tasks of my discipline but also one with which persons preparing for the ministry should be engaged. This was one of the passionate concerns of the late Rev. Dr. H. Eugene Farlough whose Chair I occupy.