J. Kameron Carter Joins IU

Leading Scholar of African American Religion Joins IU’s Religious Studies Faculty

J. Kameron Carter comes to IU Bloomington from Duke Divinity School.
For Immediate Release

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Indiana University College of Arts and Sciences announced today that J. Kameron Carter, Ph.D., will be joining IU Bloomington as a professor of religious studies. Carter previously served as an associate professor of theology, English, and African American studies at Duke Divinity School.

Carter has published widely in his field, and his first book, Race: A Theological Account, was described as an “intellectual tour de force” by James H. Cone, the founder of Black Liberation Theology. Among many other honors, Carter has received fellowships from the Luce Foundation and has twice been a fellow at the National Humanities Center.

He is currently at work on a new book, Black Rapture: A Poetics of the Sacred, which will be the first volume in a planned trilogy elaborating Carter’s vision of black religious studies.

“Jay is an intellectually fearless scholar, nationally and internationally renowned for his visionary work on race and religion,” said Constance Furey, a professor in the Department of Religious Studies, which she also chairs. “He joins a faculty already strong in the many areas where Jay is doing transformative work, including environmental studies, philosophy of religion, religion and literary and cultural imagination, and in the study of American religions. What Jay adds is a remarkable ability to link these different subfields and reveal that race is just as important to the study of the environment and philosophy as it is to more familiar scholarship in literature and American religions. The Department of Religious Studies is proud and excited to welcome Professor Carter.”

Carter earned his bachelor’s degree from Temple University, and went on to earn a master’s degree in theology from the Dallas Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. In addition to his research, teaching, and scholarship, Carter is an avid community activist. He is a member of a film collective that engages philosophy and theology as public discourses, and he recently curated a year-long project, “The Black Outdoors,” which explored blackness as an alternative atmospheric condition.

With such an extensive and varied background in research and community involvement, Carter’s presence at Indiana University will impact students and research in many corners of the College and the wider community.

Jay is an intellectually fearless scholar, nationally and internationally renowned for his visionary work on race and religion.

Constance Furey, chair and professor of Religious Studies

“J. Kameron Carter is a pioneering leader in his field and his recruitment reflects IU's commitment to an active public intellectualism that helps bridge the academy with broader communities,” said Stephanie Li, the Susan D. Gubar Chair in Literature and associate vice provost for faculty development and diversity.

Larry Singell, executive dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, offered a similar assessment.

“At the heart of the College is our world-class faculty, and J. Kameron Carter is a tremendous addition to an already outstanding department of researchers and teachers,” said Singell. “Professor Carter is an exceptionally dynamic scholar, and his presence in the College will enrich our students as well as our entire community.”

“We anticipate the arrival of J. Kameron Carter to the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences at IUB with great excitement,” said Patricia Ingham, professor and chair of the Department of English. “His fresh and important work on the intersections of race, religion, and the literary imagination combines the creative and the critical in ways crucial to the community of scholars, students, and creative writers in English.”

A popular teacher and successful graduate mentor, Carter has served on the faculty advisory board of Duke University Press, where he is editor of a new book series, “Black Outdoors: Innovations in the Poetics of Study,” and as a faculty liaison for Duke University Divinity School’s Center for Reconciliation. In addition to teaching courses in religious and theological studies, he has taught a wide array of graduate and undergraduate classes in gender studies, critical race studies, and cultural studies.

“There are major changes afoot in our country and in the world that require urgent attention, the attention of study,” said Carter. “That urgency is where the crisis of race, identity, and difference and the crisis of the earth itself turn out to be the very same crisis. Can the earth survive the human? Can the human survive the human? These are questions for the academic study of religion just as much as they are questions of black studies. I am excited to join IU’s religious studies department because the faculty is stellar. With the partnership and support of the College and my new department, I’m eager to make IU the best place in the country to do black religious studies.”