“A Man Between Two Worlds: An Interesting Report about My Academic Pilgrimage (Part I)”

“A Man Between Two Worlds: An Interesting Report about My Academic Pilgrimage (Part I)”

I love books. I love the church and the people of God. I also love the academic life. I love good and challenging books, with an infinite passion and zeal. Good books and authors often take us places where we’ve never imagined we will go in our lifetime and sometimes leave mental scars with us which will mark permanently our intellectual life.

Tonight, as I was browsing through the Biblical Studies division in my home library, my eyes suddenly fell upon my former New Testament teacher’s magisterial work, “The Making of the New Testament Documents” (Brill, 2002). Immediately, my memory revisited the various ways Prof. Earle E. Ellis has influenced my intellectual life as a young scholar in the making and student majoring in New Testament (Th. M.) at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS), in the academic years 2005-2007.

In 2005, I moved with my family to Fort Worth, Texas not to pursue another graduate degree at SWBTS, but to pursue a PhD in History of Ideas at the University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas). The Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities from the UT Dallas called me to inform me about my acceptance to the PhD program and that the Graduate Admissions Committee was very impressed about my academic performance. He asked me how I was able to work on two Masters degrees, concurrently pursuing an Advanced Master of Divinity with concentrations in Biblical languages (Greek and Hebrew) and Theological Studies at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) and an M.A. in French Language and Literature at the University of Louisville. What he did not know about my intellectual ambition was what I had no intention to reveal to him… that I was also enrolled in another M.A. degree at the University of Louisville (UofL) in Kentucky during my last academic year at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS). To be the first person in my family to get accepted to a PhD program was already an achievement and a mark of family proud; to become the first Haitian-American to graduate with a PhD in English Literary Studies at UT Dallas was another milestone accomplishment for my family and for many young people of Haitian descent, both in Haiti and abroad in the Haitian Diaspora.

After I spent my first year in the doctoral program, I quickly changed my major to English Literary Studies with specializations and doctoral comprehensive exams in African American Literature, African American Intellectual History, and Caribbean Culture and Literature. If I recall correctly, I switched majors because the School of Arts and Humanities at UT Dallas did not have any Professor who specialized in African History, Black History, or anyone who was working in African American History. I wanted to study the history and culture of the African Diaspora. There was no specialist in the area in the Department. Nonetheless, I was able to pursue a second focus in American Intellectual History which would have allowed me to give specific attention to African American Intellectual History; this academic area was close enough to what I wanted to do as a future scholar and researcher.

Progressively, I developed intellectual interests and academic passion for the field of Black Studies because of a particular African American professor, my very first “Black Professor” in Higher Learning education, at the University of Louisville who’ve had a tremendous and enduring impact on me. It was probably in Summer 2003 or 2004, I took a special course with him on the “Black Diaspora and Urban Education.” The course was designed for future teachers and especially for individuals who had an interest in urban education, teaching the economically-disadvantaged student population in our country. This particular class woke me up from my intellectual nap and cultural ignorance. It provided to me three major benefits: 1) the social consciousness about poor urban students and the predicament of disfranchised brown and black students, 2) critical tools of empowerment to serve and teach this group of American students—as a future writer, educator, and scholar, and finally, 3) the understanding of the Black Experience in the world, and to appreciate the significance of Black History (In class lectures, the professor used to boast about the success of the Haitian Revolution as only “successful slave revolution” in human history and the exemplary role of Toussaint Louverture, and he would often discuss about the importance of W.E.B. Du Bois and his 1903 seminal text, “The Souls of Black Folk,” in highlighting the Black experience and awakening Black consciousness in the United States, the radical movement of Marcus Garvey, Dr. Martin Luther King and his Civil Rights Movement, John Hope Franklin’s excellent text “From Slavery to Freedom” [this was one of the assigned texts in the course], and the suffering of Black people during slavery and the great emancipation from slavery that radically transformed the Black experience in the Americas), as well as the complexity of the African Diaspora and the manifold achievement of Africa in global history and universal civilization.). This particular course has assisted me in countless ways to make sense of the richness and complexity of human nature and history, the geo-politics of the nations of the world, and the evolution and progress of modern societies and Western civilization, in particular.

The year 2005 was a good year for my family; we experienced many blessings (our second boy was born; I published my first academic paper on the “Medieval Perspective on Children—through the Eyes of the Christian Church.” Unfortunately, I do not have any existing copy of this work.) from the Lord. I just graduated in 2004 with an M.A. in French Literature and Language from the University of Louisville (UofL) (As a personal habit, I do not like to tell people that I have a graduate degree in French because they will start asking me to teach them French and give me translation assignments to do. Lol). As a student learning about the major writers of France (i.e. Michel Foucault, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean Paul Sartre, Victor Hugo, Honore de Balzac, Voltaire, Montesquieu, etc.) and those of the Francophone world (i.e. the Martinican poet and politician Aimé Fernand Césaire, Senegalese poet and politician Léopold Senghor, and Léon Damas, Jean-Price Mars, Jacques Roumain, Edouard Glissant, Jean Bernadé, Patrick Chamoiseau, Raphael Confiant, Mariama Bâ, and the Pre-Negritude sisters [Paulette and Jane Nardal]) and being exposed to major Black Intellectual Traditions including Negritude, Creolité, Antillanité, noirisme, Black Internationalism, Black integrationism, Black assimilationism, Black nationalism, and European schools of thought including German idealism, Hegelianism, Marxism, socialism, communism, capitalism, utopianism, Romanticism, I’ve had great intellectual difficulties reconciling what I was learning at the conservative and Evangelical Seminary SBTS and the radical knowledge I was exposing to at the University.

Moreover, Critical Theory would change me, and I was between two worlds: the seminary sphere and the university realm. As a seminary student, it appeared to me that the life of the soul and the life of the mind, which I was both nurturing simultaneously, was in constant conflict and tension. The university supplied to me the useful secular knowledge and a complex perspective about the world as well as the tools that were missing in my seminary education; likewise, the seminary formation was supplying to me a different kind and category of knowledge that was missing in my secular education. I did to know how to balance these two worlds and these two forms of knowledge, but I have become more aware of the utility of both spheres of knowledge and education that made me who I am today. I knew that I needed both to navigate through the world of the church and the world of the academia.

Further, I was evolving intellectually by becoming more aware of this vast sea of knowledge outside of the world of theology and seminary. I was changing intellectually and spiritually, and I could not stop the movement in and around me. My greatest teachers in those formative academic years were not the theologians I have encountered in seminary classrooms nor the biblical scholars and thinkers whom I have met in textbooks (however, in various ways, my seminary professors have had some sustaining influences on me); the major influences in my life were these individuals and history of ideas that have radically shaped my consciousness, thought-process, my Christian life, and my way of being in the world in relation to God and to other people. Beyond the seminary classroom and the university walls, the life, character, supremacy, and teachings of Jesus Christ have remained the greatest forces that have changed my life and continue to inspire me as a person. The understanding and knowledge of this Christ is supreme over the cultural knowledge and history of ideas (intellectual knowledge) I have gained as a student preparing for the ministry and as a student forming for the academic world, concurrently.

At the University of Louisville, I was pursuing a double-major: an M.A. in French and M.A. in the Humanities with a concentration in Religious Studies. I have always been fascinating by the complexity of what call “religion.” I believe that religion is one of the top ten monumental achievements and original inventions in human history. My intellectual curiosity to study and to understand different religious traditions (humanity has always been in the quest to understand and know God and understand his providence in history and ways in the world) that are different than my own Christian tradition is an on-going and endless process and a rewarding and experimental journey. “Reason,” for example, in many religious traditions—be it Abrahamic or non-Abrahamic faiths or even atheistic, humanistic, and rationalistic religious-philosophical traditions such as Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism—sometimes betray both intellectual reason and human logic. A particular religious ritual may not make any sense to the non-practitioner; however, those who practice it within their own sphere of religious reason and knowledge will come up (or invent new reasons) with countless reasons to support the practice and reason behind the ritual—even if it may seem “unreasonable,” and even “illogical” to most of us. (African-derived religions such as the Haitian Vodou, for example, has helped me to understand many complex things in the world such as the complexity of God and his nature, and the notion of divine providence in history and God’s revelation in human cultures. Yet, as a Christian theologian, I unapologetically believe that Jesus Christ is the ultimate embodiment of God’s revelation and attributes, and that He is the ultimate ground of human existence. He is also the ultimate source of human salvation and sole hope for humanity to get right with God.) Space also is an important aspect in human life in the development of spiritual maturity and in the nurturing further religious or theological consciousness. Texas would supply to me both the intellectual space and spiritual domain to grow, establish, and develop new relationships.

Consequently, my family left Kentucky to be relocated in Texas for three main reasons: 1) UT Dallas has offered me admission to its doctoral program; 2) I was offered a teaching job right after my graduation with my first M.A. degree, and 3) I wanted to leave Louisville, Kentucky for new life adventures and to explore future possibilities. Although as a family, we have experienced tremendous growth and success, I personally did not like Louisville at all. We’ve had some tough collective experiences and difficult relationships in that city, and as a seminary student, the academic atmosphere at Southern encouraged intellectual growth and fostered rigorous biblical scholarship and solid theological habits and exercises. The social dynamics and human interactions in the seminary environment, from my perspective, were not personally rewarding and uplifting; yet, in Louisville, we made good friends and cultivated enduring relationships even to this day.

Eventually, we moved to the city of Fort Worth in June or July 2005, Texas to start in August my very first and real teaching job as a French teacher, at a private Christian High School in Fort Worth (Although I have previously taught intermittently in various schools in Kentucky, I did not consider these previous experiences as “real teaching” experiences.) In Texas, life will not be the same, as it were in Kentucky. New experiences produce new challenges that often accompany by both growth and defeat. These occurrences will also transform our family dynamics.

As I was getting prepared to begin the PhD program at UT Dallas in the following year (Although I was granted acceptance for the Fall semester 2005, my wife was pregnant with our second child Joshua, I had to postpone my doctoral admission for the following year, 2006), I was enrolled in the post-M.Div., the two-year Th.M. (Master of Theology) degree, a post graduate degree, with an emphasis in New Testament Studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS). At SWBTS, I had the greatest privilege to meet Prof. E. (Edward) Earle Ellis (March 18, 1926 – March 2, 2010), a major Biblical scholar and one of the most influential professors who has shaped my understanding of German Biblical Scholarship and Higher Criticism in New Testament Studies. I was always amazed by his kindness, clarity and precision in teaching, and his breath of knowledge of the subject matter and cognate areas (He studied law before moving to Biblical Studies as a career path). During my time at SWBTS, I took three important classes with Prof. Ellis: “The Theology of Paul,” “The Theology of Jesus,” and the “Theology of 1 Corinthians” that will revolutionize my entire academic journey as a seminary student. My classes with Prof. Ellis were never boring and usually started at night, possibly 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm or 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm.

P

rof. Ellis, who received a PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 1955, was well-versed in Rabbinical literature and Jewish Hermeneutics. When I was a student at SWBTS, he served as Research Professor of Theology Emeritus; he was 79 years old when I took my first course with him on “The Theology of Paul” in the Fall 2005. He possessed his own distinctive pedagogical way and method not only to articulate the complexity of the Text of Scripture, but also the intended meaning to the original audience of the Bible. As any young seminarian, I was thirsty for more intellectual knowledge about the biblical data and to be more acquainted with the world of the Bible and specifically the formation of the New Testament documents. Prof. Ellis’ teachings were profound, informative, and enlightening to me, exceeding the intellectual expectations of my M.Div. years at Southern. Because of his previous training in law, he would lecture as if he were in the courtroom; first, he would list the names of biblical scholars and theologians, especially the German ones, and their associated views on the Biblical Text or issue; with great rigor and passion, he would assess each (School of) interpretation individually by presenting the weakness and vindicating his own perspective on the text and relating matter, with lucidity and precision.

Every week in his classroom, I was discovering new data about Biblical Hermeneutics and the biblical text. Because he was student-centered, I developed the habit to talk to him after the class period was over on that day, so I could make further inquiry about Scripture, and to discuss specific matters and relating issues to the lecture of that day. I would also walk with him to his second-floor office and carry his suitcase. I remember the day when he brought to class a copy of his groundbreaking study, “The Making of the New Testament Documents,” and on a sticky note wrote the following words: “This book belongs to Celucien Joseph.” Nonetheless, this Celucien was battling with the internal conflict whether to go forward with the PhD in History of Ideas at UT Dallas or to apply to do a PhD in New Testament in the United Kingdom. I was found in two distinct worlds because I am a man of two spheres with a split-soul in the church and the academic world.

“Correct Text, Bad Interpretation: Jesus Brings Clarity to the original meaning of the Law Concerning Murder, Anger, Contempt, and Reconciliation”

“Correct Text, Bad Interpretation: Jesus Brings Clarity to the original meaning of the Law Concerning Murder, Anger, Contempt, and Reconciliation”

Tomorrow morning at Jesus Center, I will be teaching on how Jesus corrects the contemporary misinterpretations of the law by the Jewish teachers of the law and religious authorities of his day—in regard to four main issues: murder and anger, contempt, and reconciliation, drawn from Matthew 5:21-26. All of these important issues have to do with human relationships and our attitude toward other individuals.

In the passage above, Jesus communicates the accurate (right) and deeper interpretation of these rules of conduct, as God has intended them to be applied in human interactions and relationships, daily. Therefore, I would like to invite you to come join us in worship this Sunday (11/11) at Jesus Center and participate in this important dialogue through expository teaching and preaching of the Bible.

Worship Service Starts at 10:00 am. Breakfast is served at 9:30 am.

Bring a Friend with you!

“Benjamin E. Mays, Christianity, and Democracy in America”

“Benjamin E. Mays, Christianity, and Democracy in America”

While Benjamin E. Mays was open to other religious traditions and practices in the American society, he primarily relied on the transformative teachings, moral virtues, and ethical force of Christianity to foster change in the American society. He envisioned America to be both “a truly democratic” state and a “truly Christian” society. He construed Christianity and democracy distinctively as a twin (renewal) power and the very engine of change for societal progress and for improving race relations and human dynamics in the United States.

“If Germany through brutal means can build a kingdom of evil one decade and if Russia, through brutal processes, can construct a new order in two decades, we can democratize and Christianize in one generation.”

Mays believed that the American democracy was not functioning effectively for a large segment of the American population, chiefly the African American people whose lives were trapped under racial segregation (Jim Crow laws) and a racialist structure; although, they have partially tasted the freedom of democracy, but did not have the full access to the promises and provisions (i.e. employment, voting rights, justice, equal treatment under the law, education) of the American Democracy. (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whom Mays mentored for many years, in his 1963 historic speech, “I have a Dream,” would make allusion to this same theme.) Similarly, Mays assessed the public work of American (White) Christian churches and (White) Christian institutions as inadequate progress toward Biblical-centered race relations. Not only Mays has deemed the nation’s Christian institutions as bankrupt, Christian churches in America were not contributing substantially to the democratization of American Christianity and correspondingly to the christianization of the American life.

This observation is clearly demonstrated in his 1945 Commencement Address at Howard University, where Mays served as the Dean of the School of Theology, from 1934 to 1940:

“We are what we do and not what we say. We are as democratic as we live and we are as Christian as we act. If we talk brotherhood and segregate human beings, we do not believe in brotherhood. If we talk democracy and deny it to certain groups, we do not believe in democracy. if we preach justice and exploit the weak, we do not believe in justice. If we preach truth and tell lies, we do not believe in truth. We are what we do…The United States is obligated by virtue of its Federal Constitution and by virtue of its Christian pronouncements to become Christianized and democratized. If America is to maintain integrity of soul, and if our Government is to escape the label of hypocrisy and deception, it has no choice but to plan deliberately to bring to full fruition the four freedoms—for which we claim we fought on the battlefields of Europe and Africa; and for which we calm we are fighting in the Pacific.”

Finally, Mays construed the “American Christian” as just another “American institution” that was complicit in the suffering, dehumanization, and disfranchising of the African American people. He criticized Christian churches in America and American Christians for their lack of integrity, moral virtues, social responsibility, and to truly display in public a Christian character that is worth imitating as well as being an unwavering witness and testimony of change in the American public sphere and civil society.

—Benjamin E. Mays, “Democratizing and Christianizing America in This Generation “(1945)

Researching Benjamin May’s Theology on Democracy and Race Relations

As I continue to read Benjamin E. Mays’ theology on Christian social responsibility, democracy, and race relations, allow me to share with you what he wrote about the devastating (psychological) effects of racial segregation on Black Youths:

“The segregated system with its inevitable consequences of inequality has warped the minds and spirits of thousands of Negro youths. They either grow to manhood accepting the system, in which case they aspire to limited racial standards; or they grow up with bitterness in their minds. It is the rare Negro child who comes through perfectly. A normal and poised under the segregated system.” —Benjamin E. Mays, “Improving the Morale of Negro Children and Youth” (1950)

“Why you should vote”

” Why you should vote”

This is the central reason you should go vote today:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Six persuasive key words and concepts in the Preamble that should compell every American to vote and to do so in every regional, state, and national election, especially as we long for a more perfect democratic union and seek to actualize our shared democratic ideals and human virtues.

These key phrases are: national unity, justice for all, national peace, human flourishing and the common good ( the general welfare), the safety and protection of the American people (the common defense), human flourishing in America and freedom for all people (the blessings of liberty…)

Finally, the powerful phrase “we the people” (of the United) is a reminder of our shared identity as Americans as well as our common responsibility and sacred duty to work together to make this country a truly democratic nation (at all times) and safe space (at all times) for all people including the strangers (non-Americans) among us.

No to “State Religion”

This particular case (See the article by clicking on the link below) in Pakistan where Islam is “the state religion” and “the official religion” of Pakistan is a clear example why (a) “state religion” can potentially become burdensome to those who practice a different religious tradition than what is embraced and approved by the political state. Those who practice a religious faith deemed “minority religion” could be subject to religious isolation and persecution if the rights and freedom of the “minority religion” is not secured and maintained by state laws governing religious practices and differences (A state religion is different than a theocratic government; similarly, a secular state is not the opposition of a state religion. Secularism is not a better option for democratic flourishing and the common good nor does it promise the triumph of religious pluralism and difference.)

A democratic state in which all religious faiths and traditions are considered equally valid is one of the strategic methods and practices to allow religious pluralism and inter-religious dialogue to flourish among all citizens–regardless of their religious affiliation and confession. Not only a democratic government should preserve and promote democratic values and ideals, it should equally recognize the validity of all different and religious ideals and worldviews–given that those confessional beliefs and practices are not a hindrance to individual freedom, freedom of religion, freedom of speech and expression, and the political sovereignty of the nation-state.

“Pakistan clears Christian woman in landmark blasphemy case

Court frees Aasia Bibi – on death row for nine years – in a case that has become emblematic of fair trial concerns. by

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/10/pakistan-court-acquits-christian-woman-accused-blasphemy-181031035547726.html

Call for Papers:”On the Side of the Poor and in Solidarity with the Oppressed: The Meaning and Legacy of James H. Cone (August 5, 1936 – April 28, 2018)”

“On the Side of the Poor and in Solidarity with the Oppressed: The Meaning and Legacy of James H. Cone (August 5, 1936 – April 28, 2018)”

Call for Papers: Africology: Journal of Pan African Studies (AJPAS)
Special Issue on James H. Cone
Celucien L. Joseph, PhD, Guest Editor
Deadline for Final Submissions: February 8, 2019

The Africology: Journal of Pan African Studies (AJPAS), the premier academic journal on Pan-African studies and Black thought in the world, is pleased to announce the Call for Papers for a special issue on the work of the eminent theologian, activist, and Father of Black Liberation Theology James H. Cone, who left this world for a better world on April 28, 2018. The underlying theme of this special issue pertains to the clarion call by James Cone to protagonists of human rights and freedom fighters to assume their sacred duty and public role and responsibility to be on “the side of the poor and in solidarity with the oppressed;” this twin idea underscores the meaning, relevance, and legacy of James H. Cone in the age of destructive globalization, American foreign (military) intervention, and Western capitalism in the developing nations, as well as the ongoing threats and challenges of white supremacy and white terrorism in American society, and American aggressive racism toward the black and brown populations, and the hostile xenophobic attitude toward the immigrants and political refugees under this current political administration.

In his writings, Cone articulated a Black politico-theology of liberation in the historical trajectories of the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power in the 1960s and within the tragic narrative of the Black experience and Black suffering in the United States. He conceptualized his theological ideas and moral demands as a corrective rejoinder to the triumph of white supremacy in the American society, white violence against Black citizens, and the silence of White American churches and theologians to promote brotherhood and safeguard the humanity and dignity of Black people against Police Brutality, dehumanization, and racial oppression and terror. In an article entitled, “Black Theology and the Black Church: Where Do We Go from Here?” (2004), Cone articulated the Black theological discourse as a “radical response from the underside of American religious history to the mainstream of white Christianity.” For Cone, Black Liberation Theology is an urgent call to white American Christians and churches to exercise radical transformation of thought, behavior, and actions toward the oppressed and the poor.

The goal of Black Liberation Theology is to fight against all forms of human oppression and assault, and all evil forces of alienation and destruction against the underrepresented and marginalized populations—toward their full emancipation, human flourishing, and the realization of their human potential as Imago Die. Correspondingly, in his second and seminal work, A Black Theology of Liberation (1970), Cone argued that Christian “theology cannot be separated from the community it represents. It assumes that truth has been given to the community at the moment of its birth. Its task is to analyze the implications of that truth, in order to make sure that the community remains committed to that which defines its existence.”

Consequently, the five-fold objective of this special issue is (1) to highlight the politico-theological ideas and ethical demands of James H. Cone for the advancement of human rights, life, and freedom of the marginalized populations and races, and the economically-disadvantaged groups in the United States and in the world; (2) to underline the intellectual contributions of Cone’s writings to the advancement of knowledge and understanding in the academic disciplines of Christian theology and ethics, African American Theology and Biblical Hermeneutics, Postcolonial Theologies and Biblical Hermeneutics, and Black and Pan-African Studies, and their cognate areas; (3) to use Cone’s writings and thought as a form of intellectual criticism to and moral outrage against the American Empire and Western Capitalism in the world, (4) to revisit Cone’s intellectual legacy as a critique and series of jeremiads about the failure and silence of the American society and American Christianity in the mistreatment, suffering, alienation, and death of the black and brown populations; and finally, (5) to accentuate the intellectual impact of Cone’s writings and ideas on Black and African American theologians and Biblical scholars, Womanist theorists and ethicists, and Womanist Biblical scholars and theologians, and Postcolonial African thinkers, theologians, and leaders in the developing nations.

We welcome articles, both in English and French, within these five broad categories, that articulate fresh and innovative readings and interpretations of Cone’s ideas and writings. Interested participants should submit a 250-word abstract along with a 2-page cv by Friday, December 28, 2019, to Dr. Joseph, Guest Editor of the Special Issue on James H. Cone, at celucienjoseph@gmail.com. The deadline to submit the final article or completed manuscript is Friday, February 8, 2019.

About the Guest Editor: Celucien L. Joseph (PhD, University of Texas; PhD, University of Pretoria) is an intellectual historian and Christian theologian. Currently, he serves as an associate professor of English at Indian River State College. He published seven academic books and more than two dozen peer-reviewed articles on the intersections of literature, history, religion, race, and history of ideas; his recent book is entitled “Between Two Worlds: Jean Price-Mars, Haiti, and Africa” (Lexington Books, 2018) His academic research and teaching interests include Black Religion, Black Liberation Theology, Black Theological Ethics and Anthropology, African American Intellectual History, Black Internationalism, and Comparative History and Literature of the Black and African Diaspora (both Francophone and Anglophone). He is currently working on two books: the first is a a volume on Jean-Bertrand Aristide, former President of Haiti and Catholic-Priest Liberation Theology entitled “Aristide: A Theological and Political Introduction to His Life and Thought” (forthcoming in 2019, Fortress Press), and the second is on the Haitian Pan-Africanist and Haiti’s reigning intellectual in the twentieth-century Jean Price-Mars, entitled “Jean Price-Mars: An Intellectual and Religious Biography” (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2019).

Dr. Joseph currently serves on the editorial of Africology: Journal of Pan African. He served as the Guest Editor to the AJPAS special issue on Wole Soyinka entitled “Rethinking Wole Soyinka: 80 Years of Protracted Engagement” (2015). He reviews manuscripts for various journals and has presented papers at conferences, both nationally and internationally.