Race

Podcast

Decolonizing the Study of Religion

How can the field address its whiteness and the legacy of its colonial origins? In this final episode of our 2019/2020 season Christopher Cotter speaks with Malory Nye about decolonizing Religious Studies.
Response

Imagining American and Japanese Religious Freedom

"Diversity often lets us realize that we have limited our scope with no deliberation," writes Satoko Fujiwara in this response to Episode 332. "Regarding the study of Japanese religions," she continues, "diversity is even more necessary because scholars in the field have largely consisted of only two groups: Japanese scholars and white Westerners. It is too often as if only “white” scholars have the freedom to study anything and everything."
Podcast

Race, Religious Freedom & Empire in Post-War Japan

Jolyon Thomas talks American Empire, Racialization, and Religion in Post-War Japan with Brett Esaki at the 2019 AAR Conference in San Diego, CA.
Response

The Politics of Religious Freedom and the Criminalization of Blackness

Bishop Brathwaite’s story points out to us the degree to which the ghostly histories of enslaved and colonized peoples continue to haunt the present from the graves of colonial infrastructures and through repurposed modes of colonial regulation. We can include in this the category of religion and its promised freedom as sites for such hauntings as well
Podcast

America’s Changing Religious Landscape

The religious landscape of the United States is changing dramatically. Americans must consider what it means to govern a nation of religious minorities. We interview Dr. Robert P. Jones, the founding CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute. Jones discusses findings from PRRI's national surveys on religion and public life, many of which are represented in the American Values Atlas. The data collected by PRRI reveal a number of surprising trends related to religion and its intersection with politics, voting patterns, age, race, immigration, and secularism in the United States. A few key findings highlighted in PRRI's 2016 report on America's changing religious identity and covered in this podcast: (1) white Christians now account for fewer than half of the public, (2) white evangelical Protestants are in decline, (3) non-Christian religious groups are growing, and (4) atheists and agnostics account for a minority of all religiously unaffiliated. We discuss the implications of these findings and more, and we briefly review the research methodologies utilized by PRRI.
Podcast

Black Religious Movements and Religio-Racial Identities during the Great Migration

In this podcast, Judith Weisenfeld talks to Brad Stoddard about her new book, New World A-Coming: Black Religion and Racial Identity during the Great Depression. In this book, Weisenfeld explores several social groups in the early 1900s who combined religious and racial rhetoric to fashion new identities.
Response

On Reading Ralph Ellison Theologically

Most scholars examining invisibility in Ellison’s novel consider it a social metaphor: the novel’s protagonist is made invisible by people’s refusal to really see him. Yet Harriss claims invisibility is also a theological trope, with roots in biblical materials, Protestantism, and Kongo traditions, antecedents that establish it as an unmarked religious category. More than the social marginalization of black bodies, Harriss contends invisibility is metaphysical, too.
Podcast

Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Theology

By claiming the invisible not simply as a materialist term but a metaphysical one as well, Harriss contends that despite—or even because of—his status as a thoroughly “ secular” novelist and critic, Ellison’s writing reflects important theological trends and issues that mark his age and the cultural inheritances of his literary production.
Response

Can Religion Explain the KKK?

While Baker’s interventions regarding the need to take seriously the “religion” of the Klan is noted, I question whether she does not herself reinforce problematic epistemological and methodological assumptions about “religion.” Describing the story of the Ku Klux Klan as “lovely”, as Kelly Baker does in her interview with David Lewis, is initially perplexing. Fortunately, Baker goes on to clarify what she intends, ...
Response

Hyphenating Identities

We find ourselves in a time when countries like the UK and the US are, even now, officially providing their citizens the option of identifying via the use of hyphenated ethnicities. In yet another excellent Religious Studies Project interview, we hear from University of California Santa Barbara Associate Professor Rudy Busto talking about race and religion in the United States.
Podcast

Race and Religion: Intertwined Social Constructions

In this interview, we focus the topic of race: particularly how it has been examined (and ignored) in the field of religious studies, how it has been confused with ethnicity, how race and religion have been theorized as mutually constitutive, limitations and occlusions in the study of race and religion, and why race is a category scholars of religion cannot afford to ignore.