"Testifying" and "Testimony"

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Autobiographical narratives and related materials such as journals and diaries have proved to be valuable, but often problematic, resources for the studying and teaching of African American religious experiences. This chapter identifies a number of these resources and illustrates some of the historiographical and pedagogical issues related to their use. In this chapter, "testifying" alludes to the confessional tradition within the black religious experience and is used in reference to the "subjective" self-representations, interpretations, and experiences found in autobiographical narratives and related materials. "Testimony", meanwhile, has more "factual" connotations and refers to resources and interpretations that are ostensibly more "objective" and hence subject to critical historical assessment. Both types of material are presented as valid, valuable, and complementary resources for studying the African American religious experience. This chapter also includes pedagogical reflections on varied classroom experiences that incorporate both types of resources in courses situated in two university departments of religious studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTeaching African American Religions
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199784981
ISBN (Print)9780195167979
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006


  • African American religious experience
  • Autobiographical narratives
  • Diaries
  • Journals
  • Objective
  • Teaching strategies
  • Testifying
  • Testimony

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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