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Indiana University Northwest

Office of Marketing and Communications

IU Northwest to host book talk, signing on March 23

Gary native returns home to unveil her work on culture of black congregations; education professor served as co-editor


Media Contact

Emily Banas
Office of Marketing and Communications

Erika Rose
Office of Marketing and Communications

Indiana University Northwest invites the greater Northwest Indiana community to meet Sandra Barnes, Ph.D., the author of Black Megachurch Culture, a book that explores the rituals of worship, theology, racial beliefs and other cultural tools of the historic Black Church.

Barnes, a professor from Vanderbilt University and a Gary native, will draw from her book to discuss models for education and empowerment from 5 to 8 p.m., Friday, March 23 in Raintree Hall, room 102.

Barnes will discuss ways that a Black Megachurch can empower the city of Gary. She is a joint-appointed professor in the Department of Human and Organizational Development (HOD) and the Divinity School at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. Her research and teaching interests include: sociology and religion; race, class and gender inequality; urban sociology; and statistics and methods. A 1982 graduate of Horace Mann High School, Barnes has published research articles in Social Forces, Social Problems, the Journal of African American Studies, and Sociological Focus.

Black Megachurch Culture will be available for purchase and a book signing by the author immediately following the program.

Published in August of 2011, the book is the first in a series edited in part by Assistant Professor of Education Rochelle Brock, Ph.D. Brock also serves as the executive director of IU Northwest’s Urban Teacher Education Program (UTEP).

The book series, Black Studies and Critical Thinking, is an interdisciplinary series that examines the intellectual traditions of and cultural contributions made by people of African descent throughout the world.

As stated on Peter Lang’s Web site, Black Megachurch Culture “identifies how church cultural components are created, developed, and used to educate and empower adherents, and whether and how these tools are associated with the historic Black Church. The book is particularly interested in how large black congregations - megachurches - use rituals found in worship, theology, racial beliefs, programmatic efforts, and other tools from their cultural repertoire to instruct congregants to model success in word and deed.”

The event is sponsored by the IU Northwest Urban Teacher Education Program (UTEP) and the Office of Diversity Programming.

For more information, contact Valerie Winbush at (219) 980-6887 or