Dissertation and Research

Research Areas: Political Theology; Black Studies and Black Feminist Critique; Race, Enslavement, and Colonization in Natural Law and Natural Rights DiscourseEarly Modern Race and Religion; Decolonial Theory

Danube's dissertation project critically examines epistemologies of race, racialization, and religion in 17th century natural rights discourse, elaborating on its entanglements with English colonization and chattel enslavement in the Americas. Through the lenses of Black studies, Black theology, and decolonial theory, Danube tracks the ways that early modern English naturalists shift away from positive theological formulas for sovereignty and civil government like divine right, and toward naturalistic notions of liberty, consent, and equality. She argues that this shift came at the cost of seeking certainty and security not in God’s providence embodied in sovereign authority, but through racial superiority, colonial conquest, and imperial wealth. A major aim of this project is rethinking the category of "political theology" as a site for Black critique and ethical formation that mobilizes against the legacies of colonialism and chattel slavery. 

Danube is also working toward a second project on the elements of religious experience in Frantz Fanon's recently published dramas, The Drowning Eye and Parallel Hands. There she will consider recent work in Black psychoanalysis and Protestant theology, with particular attention to evocations of Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Hamlet. At stake here is the question of how dramatizations of Black sovereignty and subjectivity complicate categories of gender and sexuality.

Danube's research will be published in a forthcoming special issue of Religious Studies Review in 2022. She is also co-editor of a double-issue in Political Theology on "Political Theology and Black Thought," featuring responses from Denise Ferreira Da Silva and Frank Wilderson.