Review Of "Righteous Content: Black Women's Perspectives Of Church And Faith" By D.C. Wiggins

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This timely study is one of the first to adopt sociological method and feminist theory to examine the religious lives of African American women. Using fieldwork, surveys, and numerous interviews, Wiggins (formerly, Duke Divinity School) provides a context for understanding the historical genderedness of institutionalized religion for blacks in the US, a trend that is reflected in the overall population. In terms of membership and participation, African American women dominate black church life in America, even though men dominate the formal clergy leadership roles. Wiggins tackles this phenomenon by interrogating the whys of black women's intense religiosity in African American Protestantism. For her research sample she focuses on two mid-sized congregations in metropolitan Georgia, aligned with the Church of God in Christ and the Black Baptists. There is an excellent section on church ritual life that considers worship traditions, spirituality, and religious experience as significant interpretive factors to account for in considering black women's church attendance. Although two brief appendixes on methodology and research design round out the study, additional quantitative data might have made the material more useful to social scientists. Nevertheless, this highly readable book will be a valuable addition to library collections. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers.


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