Race and Religion: postcolonial formations of power and difference

Nye, M. (2020) Race and Religion: postcolonial formations of power and difference. Series: Critiquing Religion: Discourse, Culture, Power. Bloomsbury Academic: London. (Accepted for Publication)

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Publisher's URL: https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/series/critiquing-religion-discourse-culture-power/?pg=2

Abstract

The focal question of Race and Religion is this: when we talk of religion are we in fact talking about race? That is, are discourses on religion and religions a means of expressing discourses of difference based on race and racialization? After all, racial imagery is a central element of the modern world. Conventionally, religion and race are considered distinct discourses: in particular, religion is framed as a matter of individual choice, whilst race is ‘inherited’ genetically. However, the two discourses often overlap, particularly on a popular level – for example, in American culture Islam is constructed in many ways as a racialized as well as a religious identity. Both terms are the product of (western) modernity and colonialism, and emerged from the English-speaking Europeans’ need to classify and control the diverse populations that they sought to dominate, in America, Africa, Asia, and elsewhere. As Masuzawa and Nongbri have shown, the category of religion is a historically recent development that is deeply rooted in colonialism. Likewise, the idea of race, and the racialization of differences between ‘white’ Europeans and others, is also a product of this same colonial history. In short, race is colonialism speaking. Religion and race intersect, and the emergence of the discourse of different ‘religions’ is itself a racialized formation. So how can this help us to understand race and religion in the contemporary world? How much is the idea of ‘whiteness’ rooted in religious as well as racial differentiation? And is it possible to decolonise the concept of religion?

Item Type:Books
Status:Accepted for Publication
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Nye, Dr Malory
Authors: Nye, M.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Publisher:Bloomsbury Academic

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