Political Science Professor releases book of original essays by African American Quakers

April 21st, 2011

Paul Kriese, professor of political science, has a new book out published by the QuakerPress of Friends General Conference, Philadelphia, Pa. “Black Fire: African American Quakers on Spirituality and Human Rights” is a collection of original essays by African American Quakers that explores race and race issues within the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and how they relate to the United States and the relationship between politics and religion.

Kriese, Harold D. Weaver, Jr., Fellow at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African American Research at Harvard University, and Stephen W. Angell, Leatherock Professor of Quaker Studies at Earlham College, were the book’s editors.

“We live in a society where race has always been a major issue in the United States,” Kriese said. “What the book does is it explores the relationship between politics and religion and the not always positive relations between black and white Quakers.”

The essays cover the Colonial era to the 1940s; points-of-view from men and women; and why African Americans joined the Religious Society of Friends, ultimately concluding that both whites and blacks can work together on issues.

“For me what’s important is that ordinary people can be involved and believe that human rights and equality are important. Everyone can do it. No one is immune from being involved in these issues,” Kriese said.

Kriese will have a second book published in January 2012. “Social Justice, Poverty and Race: Normative and Empirical Points of View” is forthcoming from publisher Rodopi, Amsterdam and New York. This book is a continuation of Kriese’s previously published book, “Global Community.” He has co-authored both publications with Randall E. Osborne, professor of psychology at the Texas State University-San Marcos.

His essay in this book, “Sociocentric Social Justice: Moving from ‘I’m Right’ to ‘We’re Connected,’” discusses the perception of how social justice varies from an individual to a group approach.  He previously was invited to present this paper at the Oxford Round Table conference for the Oxford UK Topic on “Social Justice: Poverty, Food and Race” in March 2009. The paper was the inspiration for the book which is a collection of essays on social justice.

Three IU East faculty contributed to the book. Elvinet Wilson, assistant professor of communication studies, wrote her essay on the Caribbean titled “Reconceptualizing the Story of U.S. Cultural Adaptation?”.  Jerome Mahaffey, associate professor of communication studies, wrote an essay titled “Imaginary Leaders: Resolving the Anonymity Problem for Modern Social Activism.” Wazir Mohamed, assistant professor of sociology, wrote an essay on social injustice in Central America, “The Limits of Western Democracy: Ethnic Politics and its Constraints for Social Justice in Post-colonial Polyethnic Societies.”

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