Juneteenth 2023 at Riverside

Juneteenth Lunch and Learn with Dr. Josef Sorett

Sunday, June 18 | 1pm | Assembly Hall

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In honor of Juneteenth, Riverside will host a Lunch and Learn with Dr. Josef Sorrett, Dean of Columbia College moderated by Riverside’s own Theologian-In-Residence Dr. Andrea White.

In Black is a Church: Christianity and the Contours of African American Life, Josef Sorett explores the historical and contemporary role of the church in shaping African American identity and culture. From the earliest literary productions of the eighteenth century to the #BlackLivesMatter movement in the twenty-first, religion–namely Protestant Christianity–has figured at the center of black life in North America. Drawing on a wealth of historical and cultural sources, as well as his own personal experiences growing up and as a scholar, Sorett will draw upon his new book, Black is a Church, to analyze and invite a conversation about the ways in which “church”–both as a set of ideas and an institution–has influenced the very meaning of black music, literature, politics, and more.



Josef Sorett is Dean of Columbia College and Vice President for Undergraduate Education at Columbia University, where he is also Professor of Religion and African American and African Diaspora Studies. As an interdisciplinary scholar of religion and race in the Americas, Dean Sorett employs primarily historical and literary approaches to the study of religion in Black communities and cultures in the United States, straddling the disciplines of history, literature, religion, art and music. His first book, Spirit in the Dark: A Religious History of Racial Aesthetics, illuminates how religion has figured in debates about Black art and culture across the 20th century.