What’s due in June, 2021!

What’s due in June, 2021!

  1. A book review on two books on the Haitian Occupation in Haiti, 1915-1934;
  2. A book review on a Haitian Anthology book;
  3. A book review on a book on African American Evangelicalism;
  4. A book review on a book about Haiti’s nineteenth century and early twentieth century’s literary production;
  5. An essay for an Anthropology journal on Joseph Anténor Firmin and my new edited book about him: “Reconstructing the Social Sciences and the Humanities: Anténor Firmin, Western Intellectual Tradition, and Black Atlantic Tradition” (*** I received an invitation to write the short essay and to introduce the book.)
  6. Course essays to grade and final grades to submit for two summer classes.

How am I going to get all of these things done in 30 days? I am only one person and can’t be in two different places at once 🙂

Can I just enjoy my summer vacation peacefully and without doing any academic works?

Why am I punishing myself? Lol

***The truth is that I have missed the due dates for # 1, 2, and 4; the editors were very gracious to grant me extension, but June seems to be the new deadline to submit these assignments

The good Lord/Bondye kngows that I need strength and energy!

“Pray for ALL People and the Common Good of ALL Nations:How Should Christians and the People of God Respond to the Modern Crisis between the Nation of Israel and Palestine?”

“Pray for ALL People and the Common Good of ALL Nations:
How Should Christians and the People of God Respond to the Modern Crisis between the Nation of Israel and Palestine?”

When the Bible commands the people of God to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6), it does not forbid God’s people to pray for the peace of Palestine nor to exclude other nations and peoples in Christian prayers, concurrently. In fact, Scripture strongly encourages Christians and the people of God to utter intercessory prayers for all peoples and all nations, respectively. As it is stated in Scripture, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Tim. 2:1-7). In this sense, the Christian prayer is universal, inclusive, and non-discriminatory; its driven motive is peace-building and the promotion of human dignity and worth. In this passage, prayer is depicted as a weapon of peace and stability, construction and deconstruction.

Correspondingly, the Christian prayer has an ethico-political purpose: the political peace and stability of the nation-states, and the common good and welfare of all people. Yet one should remember that prayer is about negotiation with the Divine/God the same way peace-making or peace-building requires the process of democratic intent and the deliberate negotiation between political leaders and national and international citizens of the world. In other words, God does not grant national peace apart from human negotiation. National peace is also the work of the nations and their leaders. God, the leaders, and the people they guide work hand in hand and in unqualified solidarity to foster peace, a politics of relationality, and an ethic of mutual respect.

The people of God do not just pray exclusively for the people they love, such as their friends, co-workers, and family members; it is the contrary. Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, instructs his followers and the people of God to be kind and generous through intercessory prayers for the welfare of their enemies and the common good for the people who do not like them. As it is observed in this important passage, “44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:44-45). Accordingly, the centrality of Christian prayer is to make the Christian an engaged human being and a participatory citizen in human affairs and the divine project in the world. It can also be stated that the purpose of Christian prayer is to make the Christian a more reflective individual who does not overlook the weight of violence in his or her community and the burden of evil in contemporary times. This passage also suggests that prayer has a humanitarian and humanistic value; it is simply about imitation, that is, being and acting like God through his kind intentions and unmeasured goodness toward all people and nations.

In the spirit of Psalm 122:6, to wish divine shalom upon a country or a nation should not be equated with the license to ignore a country’s wrongdoings and its habit of violence and violation of human rights, as it is the case between the nation of Israel and the nation of Palestine. The call to intercessory prayers for the peace of Jerusalem is also a clarion call to hold the nation of Israel accountable for its deliberate mistreatment of the nation and people of Palestine, as God despises all manners of injustice and all forms of exploitation toward his image bearers. God gives justice and grace to the oppressed and the marginalized of the world (“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble”: Psalm 9:9; “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor”: Luke 4:18-19). God punished the nations of Sodom and Gomorrah for their wickedness and violence (Genesis 18:20-33), and he judged the nation of Assyria for its arrogance and practice of violence (Isaiah 10:12, 5-19), and the nation of Babylon for its guilt, vengeance, and unjust diplomatic dealings with the neighboring nations (Jeremiah 56:6-56). The God who acts, sees, intervenes, and liberates always does so through personal, collective, and intercessory prayers.

Prayer is a divine gift for all people, and God has designed prayers to be a universal blessing for all nations and all peoples of the earth. To pray for Jerusalem is not a command to Christians and the people of God to support blindly the nation of Israel in all its undertakings toward its neighboring nation: Palestine. Christians and the people of God should not use the gift of prayer to promote nationalism, Zionism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Palestinian racism and xenophobia. Prayer as a universal and inclusive gift transcends all forms of human hatred, hostility, and violence. Intercessory prayers should be launched, in its weaponry sense, to fight injustice, human rights violation, genocide, and unnecessary death.

The art of Christian prayer invites human accountability, openness, and honesty (“For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me”: Ps. 51:3). It also includes the process of personal and collective confession and mourning (“Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior… a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise”: Ps. 51:14; “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land”: Daniel 9:4-6). As it is inferred in these passages, God is against all forms of human and state violence and injustice—even those committed by the people of God and Christians. Nonetheless, he uplifts the nations and the peoples who are committed peacemakers and peace-builders (Matthew 5:9), and those who pray purposefully for the good health and welfare of their friends and their enemies, with the same passion and zeal.

Finally, we should remember that Christian prayer is a political act since it includes the political leaders of the nations, involves the kingdoms of this world, and is concerned with the political activities and interventions of the nations, respectively. Prayer is also a spiritual activity since humans address it directly to God, a divine Spirit/Being, and it is a divine design to improve one’s spiritual journey and intimacy with God. Prayer as a form of theological engagement draws us near the Divine and his Spirit; as a theological expression and disclosure, prayer gives us access to the deep things of God (i.e. his projects and plans for his people and the nations) and to the depth of his Being and essence. From this perspective,  prayer is a form of human radicalness and divine openness. The prayer that aims at fostering peace, national unity, and political accord between nations and peoples is the one that God honors. Let us continue to offer candid and revolutionary intercessory prayers for the preservation of peace and tranquility, human rights and dignity, and the freedom and political freedom of the Palestinian people and of all exploited people and all subjugated nations of the world.

My Summer Reading List: Five Great Texts!

Hello, Good People: I would like to share with you five great texts I plan to read this summer:

My Summer Reading: Book 1

“African Dominion: A New History of Empire in Early and Medieval West Africa” by Michael A. Gomez

My Summer Reading: Book 2

“The Enlightenment that Failed: Ideas, Revolution, and Democratic Defeat, 1748-1830 ” by Jonathan I. Israel

My Summer Reading: Book 3

“Pauline Dogmatics: The Triumph of God’s Love” by Douglas Campbell

My Summer Reading: Book 4

“The Making of Black Evangelical Sociality” by Todne Thomas

My Summer Reading: Book 5

“The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song” by Henry Gates

Recommended Summer (2021) Readings on Haiti, the Haitian Revolution, and Haitian Studies

  1. Sudhir Hazareesingh, Black Spartacus: The Epic Life of Toussaint Louverture (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020)
  2. Brandon R. Byrd, The Black Republic: African Americans and the Fate of Haiti (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020)
  3. Chelsea, Stieber, Haiti’s Paper War: Post-Independence Writing, Civil War, and the Making of the Republic, 1804–1954 (NYU Press, 2020)
  4. Jean Casimir, The Haitians: A Decolonial History (The University of North Carolina Press, 2020)
  5. Celucien L. Joseph, Revolutionary Change and Democratic Religion: Christianity, Vodou, and Secularism (Pickwick Publications, 2020)
  6. Alyssa Goldstein Sepinwall, Slave Revolt on Screen: The Haitian Revolution in Film and Video Games (University Press of Mississippi, 2021))
  7. Celucien L. Joseph & Paul Mocombe (eds), Reconstructing the Social Sciences and Humanities: Anténor Firmin, Western Intellectual Tradition, and Black Atlantic Tradition (Routledge, 2021)
  8. Jana Evans Braziel & Nadège T. Clitandre (eds) The Bloomsbury Handbook to Edwidge Danticat (Bloomsbury Handbooks, 2021)
  9. Edwidge Danticat, Everything Inside: Stories (Vintage 2020)
  10. Makenzy Orcel, The Immortals (SUNY Press, 2020)

My Book on Joseph Anténor Firmin is Officially Published TODAY!

Today is the official release/publication date of my book I coedited with Paul Mocombe: “Reconstructing the Social Sciences and Humanities: Anténor Firmin, Western Intellectual Tradition, and Black Atlantic Tradition” (Routledge, 2021).

Good people & friends: this is the first academic book in the English language on the writings and ideas of the great Haitian anthropologist, Egyptologist, and global thinker Joseph Anténor Firmin.

In 1885, Firmin published “The Equality of the Human Races: Positive Anthropology,” a path-breaking (scientific) book at the emergence of the field of anthropology in the West. This interdisciplinary and ambitious text interrogates Eurocentric epistemologies and theories of knowledge, as well as the Eurocentric view of human history, universal civilization, and the concept of race—as observed in the intellectual and scientific writings of European thinkers and writers. Firmin rejected the contemporary belief and foundational intellectual systems associated with the origin of Western civilization and the beginning of Europe. He challenged the ideological construction of Western Social Sciences and the Humanities and their corresponding paradigms and intellectual foundations. Also, Firmin interrogated the conventional boundaries of research methods in the social sciences and humanities in the eighteenth century and the nineteenth century, respectively—although the social sciences came to be recognized as distinct disciplines of thought until the nineteenth century.

According to Firmin, the West is not the telos of human history nor does Europe define what it means to be human and have dignity. By doing so, he rejected the radical doctrine of his time about the natural superiority of the White/Aryan race and the natural inferiority of the Black race. In other words, for Firmin, Western civilization is not the end of human reason and that the belief in racial hierarchies and the division of the races according to their intelligence and achievement in global history contradicts the very nature of positive anthropology and what we know scientifically and epistemologically about evolutionary theory connected to scientific evolution and knowledge, the complexity of human nature, and the origin of human beings in the world. He was the first “Black anthropologist” and “Black Egyptologist” to do so in 1885. Arguably, Joseph Anténor Firmin is the forgotten founding father of Western anthropology and the neglected founding father of Black anthropology. For Firmin, all the races are naturally equal and “Tous les hommes sont l’homme.”

*** Do not forget to order the book, recommend it to your friends and libraries, and assign it in your courses!