Modern Religion, Modern Race

by

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780190212551
  • 9780190212568
  • 9780190621964
Religion is a racialized category, even when race is not explicitly mentioned. In Modern Religion, Modern Race Theodore Vial argues that because the categories of religion and race are rooted in the post-Enlightenment project of reimagining what it means to be human, we cannot simply will ourselves to stop using them. Only by acknowledging that religion is already racialized can we begin to understand how the two concepts are intertwined and how they operate in our modern world.It has become common to argue that the category religion is not universal, or even very old, but is a product of Europe's Enlightenment modernization. Equally common is the argument that religion is not an innocent category of analysis, but is implicated in colonial regimes of control and as such plays a role in Europe's process of identity construction of itself and of non-European "others." Current debates about race follow an eerily similar trajectory: race is not an ancient but a modern construction. It is part of the project of colonialism, and race discourse forms one of the cornerstones of modern European identity-making. Why can't we stop using them, or re-construct them in less toxic ways? By examining the theories of Kant, Herder, and Schleiermacher, among others, Vial uncovers co-constitutive nature of race and religion, describes how they became building blocks of the modern world, and shows how the two concepts continue to be used today to form identity and to make sense of the world. He shows that while we disdain the racist language of some of the founders of religious studies, the continued influence of the modern worldview they helped create leads us, often unwittingly, to reiterate many of the same distinctions and hierarchies.Although it may not be time to abandon the very category of religion, with all its attendant baggage, Modern Religion, Modern Race calls for us to examine that baggage critically, and to be fully conscious of the ways in which religion always carries with it dangerous ideas of race.
  • Oxford University Press; June 2016
  • ISBN 9780190212568
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure EPUB format
  • Title: Modern Religion, Modern Race
  • Author: Theodore Vial
  • Imprint: Oxford University Press
Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780190212551
  • 9780190212568
  • 9780190621964

In The Press

"Vial's book is pioneering in demonstrating the intimate link between the emergence of the idea of a generic phenomenon called 'religion' and the development of racial theory among some of the most influential philosophers of the modern era, including Kant, Hegel, Schleiermacher and Herder He challenges us to rethink other categories as well, such as gender, and to recognise that racism is stamped in our minds as well as our politics and economics. The book is daring and challenging, certain to be debated and disputed, for it is one of the most exciting and brilliant studies of religion and race of our era."--Susannah Heschel, Body and Religion
"Theodore Vial's groundbreaking text on religion, race, and modernity is the most insightfully thought-out, clearly written, and invitingly compelling of all the recent publications on this subject. Clarity of argument represents clarity of thinking. And his, indeed, is a new voice in the field. He proves to us what we've all missed: the post-Kantian context and the decisiveness of language in how the West wedded race and religion."-Dwight N. Hopkins, author of Being Human: Race, Culture, and Religion
"Modern Religion, Modern Race is a smart, nuanced, and accessible study of the birth of the twin concepts of 'religion' and 'race' in the modern world. With historical sensitivity and philosophical acumen, Theodore Vial traces the simultaneous development of these two concepts and brings his analysis to bear upon the contemporary, and often violent, ways in which these ideas continue to shape our world. Readers have much to gain from this thoughtful study."-Leora Batnitzky, author of How Judaism Became a Religion: An Introduction to Modern Jewish Thought
"Theodore Vial has given us a wonderfully learned and rich treatment of race and religion in the German Idealist tradition. Long established as one of the leading Schleiermacher scholars in the English speaking world, Vial has done us an enormous service in this text. It not only brilliantly explains the thought of Schleiermacher, Herder, and Kant on race and religion, but he also gives us a beautiful genealogy that brings us to our present moment. His work complements and expands the seminal work of Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze and helps us see the racial architecture of modern religious studies. Yet what also commends this book is the clarity and precision with which Ted Vial writes. Generations of students will sing his praises for giving them a text that they will understand and remember."-Willie James Jennings, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Africana Studies, Yale University

About The Author

Theodore Vial teaches modern western religious thought. He is the author of Schleiermacher: A Guide for the Perplexed (2013), Liturgy Wars: Ritual Theory and Protestant Reform in Nineteenth-Century Zurich ( 2004); and co-editor of Ethical Monotheism, Past and Present: Essays in Honor of Wendell S. Dietrich (2001). Vial received his B.A. from Brown University and both M.A. and Ph. D. from The University of Chicago.

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780190212551
  • 9780190212568
  • 9780190621964