Department of Music Online Lecture: Dr. Alisha L. Jones, Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology, Indiana University
In November 2014, the 107th Church of God in Christ (COGIC) convocation video footage of Andrew Caldwell’s testimony of deliverance was released to the media, prompting discourses surrounding the nature of deliverance rituals in Pentecostal churches during altar call. Within historically black Pentecostal churches that showcase gospel music, “deliverance” is a term that traditionally refers to a release from spiritual oppression and a separation from the sinful lifestyle. While deliverance is used to characterize many types of spiritual healing, many Black congregations and gospel music fans deploy the term in a frequently gendered manner referring to a man’s “struggle” to resist homosexuality. Drawing from Black male musician’s narratives and recordings since the late 1980s, this chapter from Dr. Jones' book Flaming?: The Peculiar Theo-Politics of Fire and Desire in Black Male Gospel Performance, explores a social history of anxieties surrounding the performances of formerly gay men's deliverance testimonies in Pentecostal gospel music scenes.
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Alisha Lola Jones, PhD is an assistant professor in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University (Bloomington). Dr. Jones is an incoming board member of the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM), a member of the strategic planning task force for the American Musicological Society (AMS), and a co-chair of the Music and Religion Section of the American Academy of Religion (AAR). Additionally, as a performer-scholar, she consults museums, conservatories, seminaries, and arts organizations on curriculum, live and virtual event programming, and content development. Dr. Jones’ book Flaming: The Peculiar Theo-Politics of Fire and Desire in Black Male Gospel Performance (Oxford University Press) breaks ground by analyzing the role of gospel music making in constructing and renegotiating gender identity among black men. Her research interests extend to global pop music, musics of the African diaspora, music and food, the music industry and the marketplace, and anti-oppressive ways of listening to black women.