This essay argues that political theology does not interrogate the contexts of emergence for the joining of the political to the theological; it takes these concepts to have meaning without accounting for how these categories are created by racialized, gendered, sexed exclusion. What is it to be susceptible, and can such a thing be the antidote to political theology? Why would political theology need an antidote? Arguing that susceptibility is lined out in the sounds of the Hammond organ emanating from Blackpentecostal musicianship, perhaps attending to the sound and song emerging from such a space might give us a cue and clue regarding a way of life that does not take racialization and its exclusions as the grounds for thought.
Ashon T. Crawley is associate professor of religious studies and African American studies at the University of Virginia and author of Blackpentecostal Breath: The Aesthetics of Possibility (2019), winner of the 2019 Judy Tsou Critical Race Studies Award from the American Musicological Society, and The Lonely Letters (2020). He is currently working on a cultural studies, gender, and sexuality history of the Hammond organ and its use in black sacred contexts, a project titled “Made Instrument: Polyphonic Intention.” All his work is about alternatives to normative function and form, the practice of otherwise possibility.
Ashon Crawley; Susceptibility. GLQ 1 January 2021; 27 (1): 11–38. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-8776834
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