In this issue, guest edited by Maureen H. O’Connell (La Salle University), contributors make connections between critical race theory, theological aesthetics, and the arts. As Americans commemorate the milestones of the Civil Rights Movement in the midst of violence and division that seems to call that legacy into question, we offer an issue of ARTS that reflects on these kairotic times from the perspective of theological aesthetics. Philosopher George Yancy gives us a prophetic primer on the basics of critical race theory made evident in the lived reality of three Black men killed by law enforcement. Aimee Meredith Cox, an anthropologist and former dancer with the Alvin Ailey company, turns our attention to the resilient beauty of young Black girls whose commitment to personal survival and care of each other is nothing short of captivating choreography. Valerie Bridgman takes us back to the tumult of racial integration in the south with two original poems, while Malik JM Walker pulls us into the liturgical spectacle of the jazz funeral in New Orleans in order to explore its ongoing political significance in a city that is only too familiar with the legacy of racism. Acknowledging that many of us are in need of strategies for engaging questions of racism in our various educational contexts, a handful of teaching scholars involved in a Wabash Center blog last fall on “Race Matters in the Classroom” map out ways that they have used the arts for doing just that. John Shorb interviews Kellie Jones about an exhibit titled, “Witness: Art & Civil Rights in the 60s,” while Sundar John Boopalan and Brian Bantum review Black Prophetic Fire (Cornel West and Christa Buschendorf, 2014) and The Souls of Mixed Folk: Race, Politics, and Aesthetics in the New Millennium (Michelle Elam, 2011) respectively. Mark McInroy rounds out the issue with short notes on three books related to our focus on race and the arts.
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