Introduction
Rarely have African American and Latino/a theologians and religious
scholars inquired into the possibility and even necessity of cross-cultural
communication with respect to the two communities and their scholarly
traditions in theology and in religious studies.1 This is the case despite the
unique web of historical and cultural relations that links African Ameri-
cans and Latinos/as; despite the parallel history of struggle against multiple
forms of jeopardy that have variously threatened their well-being; despite
the fact that they share a comparable history of both subversive activity
and the preservation and celebration of life; despite the current growth in
tensions developing between these groups and the consequent need for
more communication and collaboration between them; and despite the
many interesting and potentially advantageous themes and issues that can
be comparatively and jointly explored by them. It is indeed surprising that
African American and Latino/a intellectuals in general and theologians
and religious scholars in particular have not made more of an effort to
explore both the possibility and desirability of communicative exchange,
comparative analysis, and collaboration. But while this lack is surprising,
it is nevertheless an unfortunate fact that little substantive interaction has
taken place.
The reality is that the academic exploration of African American and
Latino/a religious expression has been carried out with little substantive
cross-dialogue between the two groups. That is, although black and Latino/a
scholars have worked under the assumption that theology and religious
studies are best understood as a dialogical practice and best carried out en
conjunto, the analysis of theologies and religious expression coming from
these two communities has occurred independently of each other. Fur-
thermore, even a brief perusal of the bibliographies and indexes of books
and articles written within either one of these discursive traditions reveals
a lack of attention to academic resources from the other tradition.
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