Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Pan-African Studies

Degree Program

Pan-African Studies, PhD

Committee Chair

McCormack, Michael Brandon

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Jones, Ricky

Committee Member

Jones, Ricky

Committee Member

Fleming, Tyler

Committee Member

Moazzen, Maryam

Author's Keywords

Malcolm X; Africana critical theory of religion; religion and revolution; Africana philosophy; religion and violence


Using Malcolm X as a fulcrum, this dissertation explores the possibility of resolving the apparent tension between religion and revolution in a Pan-African context. While the first chapter defines the terms “revolution” and “religion,” it also introduces readers to the conceptualization of religion as incompatible with revolution, and it presents Africana Critical Theory as the methodological tool used to guide how the author analyzed the possibility of rectifying that problem. The second chapter delineates the literature that has sought to address the potentially problematic relationship between religion and revolution. The author concludes that the Marxist tradition was too Eurocentric and the Conian tradition was too Christian-centric to qualify as useful theories for interreligious Pan-African revolutionary praxis. What he discovered, however, is the need for an Africana Critical Theory of Religion that offers a dialectical perspective and can help construct a theory that is able to reconcile religion and revolution. Chapters three through five address specific criticisms of religion that were presented by Malcolm X along with solutions he offered. Tackling problems such as the teaching of nonviolence (Chapter 3), Disunity (Chapter 4), and accepting the oppressor’s religion (Chapter 5), the author begins each chapter by articulating the criticisms of Malcolm X. Subsequently, he dialectically examines how other Africana intellectual-activists approached the particular problem posed by Malcolm. This allows the author to construct a standard that solutions are required to meet. Finally, the author presents the solutions offered by Malcolm and assesses them considering the aforementioned standards. In each of the previously mentioned chapters, the author seeks to determine if Malcolm could function as a useful locus of analysis to alleviate the tension between religion and revolution, bearing in mind the thought of various Africana intellectual activists. While he mostly met the standards addressing the issue of violence and unity, Malcolm fell drastically short on the topic of oppressed people supposedly adopting their oppressor’s religion. Nevertheless, even with this limitation, it is argued that Malcolm provides a fruitful base from which one can analyze the potential of harmony between religion and revolutionary praxis.