Cassi Pittman

Cassi Pittman

Biography

Assistant Professor of  Sociology,  Case Western Reserve University
Black Privilege and Black Power: Black Consumers Managing Race and Racial Stigma
Sheila Biddle Ford Foundation Fellow
Spring 2018

 
 

Cassi L. Pittman is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH. Dr. Pittman’s scholarship examines the underlying social and cultural processes that affect racial minorities’ economic behavior. Utilizing qualitative methods her work focuses on lived experiences of African American consumers. She has investigated African Americans’ experiences in the consumer market, as well as the mortgage market. In her upcoming book tentatively titled Black Power, Black Privilege she paints a picture of the everyday lives of middle-class African-Americans, revealing how both race and class affect their reality and inform their consumption preferences as displayed at work, in their neighborhoods, and at sites of leisure. Additionally, she has published research on middle-class blacks’ attitudes about social mobility and racial progress after the election of President Barack Obama. At present she is initiating a new research project that investigates the ways that race, class, and lifestyle preferences inform considerations of neighborhood desirably, focusing specifically on the residents of a predominantly black middle-class neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Pittman received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and her Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Project Description

Black Privilege and Black Power: Black Consumers Managing Race and Racial Stigma

During my time at the Hutchins Center I will work to complete my book tentatively titled Black Privilege and Black Power: Black Consumers Managing Race and Racial Stigma. In Black Privilege I trace middle-class blacks’ consumption across three social domains—where they live, where they work, and where they engage in leisure—to demonstrate the varied ways that race impacts their consumption. I offer an original analysis of what middle-class status buys blacks who have cultural capital, credentials, and cash on hand. The work interrogates how middle-class blacks manage racial stigma, while also working to preserve a sense of agency, worth, and humanity. The analysis reveals the complexities at the intersection of race and class as consumption objects are used as cultural tools to project contrasting social identities and to mitigate the negative effects of racial stigma. I illustrate that blacks are embedded in a uniquely American consumer ethos, but that they simultaneously maintain racially-based ideological commitments that are realized through their consumption.


Spring 2018: Sheila Biddle Ford Foundation Fellow


 

Shenaz Patel

Shenaz Patel

Biography

Journalist and Fiction Writer
Resisting the Blackout
Sheila Biddle Ford Foundation Fellow
Spring 2018

 
 
 
 
 

Project Description

Resisting the Blackout


Spring 2018: Sheila Biddle Ford Foundation Fellow


 

David Olugbenga Ogungbile

David Olugbenga Ogungbile

Senior Lecturer in Comparative Religion and African Religions, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria

Address:
104 Mt. Auburn Street, Floor 3R
E-mail:
dogungbile1@yahoo.com

Biography

David Olugbenga Ogungbile is Senior Lecturer in Comparative Religion and African Religions in the Department of Religious Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He received his BA (1987) and MA (1992) in Religious Studies from Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. He obtained MTS (World Religions) from Harvard University in 2001, and then completed his Ph.D. with a thesis on "Myth, Ritual and Identity in the Religious Traditions of the Osogbo People of Western Nigeria" in 2003 from Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. His research engagement has been on the various manifestations, expressions, and the dynamics of religions (Indigenous Religion, Islam and Christianity) in Africa. His interpretations and analysis of indigenous religious traditions make use of mythic narratives and ritual practices, which are the principal markers of how he defines the parameters of human identities, reinforcing his interdisciplinary approach to the religious experiences of African and the African Diaspora. His contributions include: "God: African Supreme Beings" in The "Encyclopedia of Religion" (2nd Edition, 2005); "Body Decoration" in "Encyclopedia of Religion, Communication and Media" (Routledge, 2006); and "Religions: Africa" in "The Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender" (Thomson Gale, 2007). He also recently co-edited two volumes for the Faculty of Arts of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife Nigeria, titled "Locating the Local in the Global: Voices on a Globalised Nigeria" (2004) and The Humanities, Nationalism and Democracy (2006). His edited volume Creativity and Change in Nigerian Christianity is near completion. He teaches Comparative Religion, Methods and Theories of Religion and Religion and Human Values in the Department of Religious Studies of Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria; he also teaches World Religion courses as an Adjunct Professor at the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso, Nigeria.

Project Description

Divine Manifestation and Human Creativity: Cultural Hermeneutics of Myth, Ritual and Identity of Osogbo-Yoruba People of Nigeria

The project is a product of research conducted for the doctoral dissertation presented to the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife (2003). The study, which covered the period between 1993 and 2002, focuses on visual and verbal performances that are contained in mythic narrative, ritual practices, songs, praise-poems, dramas, and artistic representations usually expressed and dramatized in annual festivals of the Osogbo-Yoruba people, the events that have brought the community into international socio-cultural attention and indigenous religious limelight. Additionally, the project examines Yoruba indigenous religious communities among the African Diaspora of the Americas and Europe, their mutual interactions and the implications of such interactions on global religious life and experiences, and the effects of the various levels of interactions on global identity, politics, and economy. The study identifies three key problems that characterized most of the early work pursued on indigenous traditions of Africa, and particularly of the Yoruba, perhaps the most studied indigenous people, whose influence traverses beyond Africa throughout Europe and the Americas. Firstly, in previous research, generalizations emerge which did not express local and unique peculiarities of the different religious groups of the Yoruba and of Africa as a whole. Secondly, most of the work completed was not holistic, that is, it was approached, in the main, from different singular disciplinary perspectives without seeing the intrinsic and granular connections between different aspects of religious traditions. Thirdly, most of the work was descriptive and narrative, and not interpretive and analytical. Critical models of analysis in the literature on Yoruba religious traditions, life, and experiences include work by Bolaji Idowu, Wande Abimbola, Omosade Awolalu and Ade Dopamu, and Henry and Margaret Drewal as well as the unique work of Jacob K. Olupona. The current study extends beyond the African continent and is a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary exploration and hermeneutics of the verbal and visual expression of the performance of Yoruba culture and life, adopting an interdisciplinary approach which incorporates analytical frameworks from anthropology, history, and phenomenology.

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