Open Discussion with African-American/Africana Studies Lecturer Rachel Jessica Daniel 2006

Rachel Jessica Daniel 2006Rachel Jessica Daniel 2006, American Studies doctoral candidate and Instructor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is the African-American/Africana Studies guest lecturer at Ursinus for 2013. Following her talk, "Dragging the Black Church: Tyler Perry, Steve Harvey, and Rickey Smiley Perform Black Women," she will host an open discussion about the interdisciplinary nature of her research and questions it raises, such as:

  • What messages about the current cultural climate in the U.S. might we read through these popular comedians?
  • What is the broad public perception of African-American believers and church culture?
  • Does humor hinder or open dialogue about African-American representation and cultural groups?

Daniel's lecture, which she delivered on Oct. 22, was drawn from her dissertation, "Resurrecting the Black Church: Representations of the Black Church in a Post Civil Rights Movement Era." It unpacked cultural production as practiced by Tyler Perry, who is known for his comedic drag representations of African-American working-class women. Perry, a writer, director, actor and comedian, has become a significant shaper of contemporary popular culture and is the most prominent of three comedians who cover this terrain. Daniel writes, "dragging the black church is a performative gesture that performers use to playfully define black church culture. Drag is a tool that Steve Harvey, Rickey Smiley and Tyler Perry use in order to make claims about race, gender, class, and theology."

Unity House

Ursinus College
Collegeville, PA 19426

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013


Nzadi Keita