William D. Hart

As a critical theorist of religion, I explore basic questions such as “What is religion?” and “Why are people religious?” My latest book, Black Religion: Malcolm X, Julius Lester, and Jan Willis (2008), explores the spiritual dimensions of Malcolm X’s life: his journey from Christianity to Islam, social parasite to “race man,” and libertine to ascetic. It also explores affinities between Malcolm’s spiritual journey and the journeys of Julius Lester and Jan Willis. I contend that the Muslim, Judaic, and Buddhist commitments of these autobiographers show that the black spiritual imagination—religious, political, and personal—cannot be limited to the Standard Narrative of Black Religion as the Black Church. Furthermore, spirituality cannot be limited to religion. Spirit is excessive. It overflows and encompasses the conventional religious-secular distinction. I am currently working on two projects. The first, Human Sacrifice: Dying and Killing for God and State, explores human sacrifice in religion and statecraft. The second, Slaves, Animals, and Fetuses, analyzes the use of anti-slavery models in the anti-abortion activism of Operation Rescue and the Army of God and in the animal rights activism of the Animal Liberation Front and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. **Areas of Academic Interest: 1. Theories of Religion 2. Religion, Ethics, and Politics 3. African American Religious Thought 4. American Religious and Philosophical Thought

There are 5 included publications by William D. Hart :

TitleDateViewsBrief Description
Introduction: Race as Euphemism and Shorthand 2014 243 The essays in this focus on race and ethics approach the topic from a variety of perspectives. Yet they all advance a basic claim: race—a euphemism for white supremacy—is an ethical issue too often evaded. The essays demonstrate that the ethics of ra...
NATURALIZING CHRISTIAN ETHICS: A Critique of Charles Taylor's A Secular Age 2012 1534 This essay critically engages the concept of transcendence in Charles Taylor's A Secular Age. I explore his definition of transcendence, its role in holding a modernity-inspired nihilism at bay, and how it is crucial to the Christian antihumanist arg...
“One Percenters”: Black Atheists, Secular Humanists, and Naturalists 2013 1505 This essay explores an emergent black atheist, secular humanist, and naturalistic imagination. Based on a 2007 survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life that measured the percentage of African Americans holding such views, I refer to this g...
Slaves, Fetuses, and Animals: Race and Ethical Rhetoric 2014 999 This essay is an exploration in ethical rhetoric, specifically, the ethics of comparing the status of fetuses and animals to enslaved Africans. On the view of those who make such comparisons, the fetus is treated as a slave through abortion, reproduc...
What is Theory? 2012 721 Believing and Acting (2012) is equally erudite and witty. Known for his good humor, Davis uses wit to make the medicine he dispenses go down more easily. For the patient—that is, scholars engaged in the study of religion who are concerned about prope...