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Albert J Raboteau

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Albert Raboteau


Albert J. Raboteau httpswwwprincetoneduprpictureslrraboteau

Yale University (1974), Loyola Marymount University (1964)

Guggenheim Fellowship for Humanities, US & Canada

Slave religion, Canaan Land: A Religious, A fire in the bones, A Sorrowful Joy, African American‑religion

Forgiveness in the African American Religious Tradition

Albert Jordy Raboteau (born 1943) is an African-American scholar of African and African-American religions.


Life and career

Before Raboteau was born, his father, Albert Jordy Raboteau (1899–1943), was killed in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, by a white man who was never convicted of the crime. His mother moved from the South, where she was a teacher, to find a better place for her children. She remarried to an African-American priest. Raboteau's stepfather taught him Latin and Greek starting at the age of five years, and also helped him focus on church and education. He was accepted into college at the age of sixteen. He was awarded a BA by Loyola University in 1964 and an MA in English from the University of California, Berkeley. He entered the Yale Graduate Program in Religious Studies, where he studied with American religious historian Sydney Ahlstrom and African-American historian John Blassingame, receiving his PhD in 1974. Raboteau's dissertation, later revised and published as the book Slave Religion: The "Invisible Institution" in the Antebellum South, was published just as the black studies movement was gaining steam in the 1970s and in the wake of revolutionary scholarship on American slavery: Olli Alho's The Religion of Slaves (1976), Blassingame's Slave Community (1972) and Slave Testimony (1977), Eugene Genovese's Roll, Jordan, Roll (1974), and Lawrence Levine's Black Culture and Black Consciousness (1977).

In 1982 Princeton University hired Raboteau, first as a visiting professor and then as full-time faculty. He is currently (2009) Henry W. Putnam Professor of Religion. His research and teaching focus on American Catholic history, African-American religions, and religion and immigration issues. He chaired the Department of Religion (1987–92) and also served as dean of the Graduate School (1992–93). He received the Lifetime Service Award (Journey Award) in both 2005 and 2006. In 2005, he also received the special Achievement Award (Journey Award). He has subsequently converted to Eastern Orthodoxy.


  • Slave Religion: The Invisible Institution in the Antebellum South. New York: Oxford University Press, 1978. ISBN 0-19-502438-9.
  • A Fire in the Bones: Reflections on African-American Religious History. Boston: Beacon Press, 1995. ISBN 0-8070-0932-6.
  • A Sorrowful Joy. New York: Paulist Press, 2002. ISBN 0-8091-4093-4.
  • Canaan Land: A Religious History of African Americans. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-19-514585-2.
  • African American Religion: Interpretive Essays in History and Culture. New York: Routledge, 1997. ISBN 0-415-91458-2. Co-edited with Timothy E. Fulop.
  • References

    Albert J. Raboteau Wikipedia