Race and Secularism in America

Edited by Jonathon S. Kahn and Vincent W. Lloyd

Columbia University Press

Race and Secularism in America

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Pub Date: March 2016

ISBN: 9780231174916

288 Pages

Format: Paperback

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Pub Date: March 2016

ISBN: 9780231174909

288 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $90.00£75.00

Pub Date: March 2016

ISBN: 9780231541275

288 Pages

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Race and Secularism in America

Edited by Jonathon S. Kahn and Vincent W. Lloyd

Columbia University Press

This anthology draws bold comparisons between secularist strategies to contain, privatize, and discipline religion and the treatment of racialized subjects by the American state. Specializing in history, literature, anthropology, theology, religious studies, and political theory, contributors expose secularism's prohibitive practices in all facets of American society and suggest opportunities for change.

Race and Secularism in America shows how conversations about race and secularism can be enriched by bringing the two together. This timeliness, coupled with the excellence of the contributors, makes the book essential reading for our times.

Ted Smith, Emory University Candler School of Theology

A tremendous volume. Its originality and interdisciplinary breadth will attract a range of scholars in the humanities and social sciences. It will shift conversations within and facilitate new discussions across the fields of race, religion, literature, and theology.

James Manigault-Bryant, Williams College

Jonathon S. Kahn and Vincent W. Lloyd have pulled together a deeply original set of essays on race and secularism in the United States that effectively challenges intellectualist, European-derived accounts of secularist discourse. Focusing on the fundamental whiteness of American secularism, the collection highlights the ways in which the specificities of both race and religion have been managed—and obscured—through the ideals and practices of secular statecraft. It is an impressive and necessary critique of the widespread neglect of race and racialization in contemporary secular studies.

Leigh Eric Schmidt, Washington University in St. Louis

This well-conceived and well-crafted collection provides another account of secularism by interrogating those processes by which not only are religion and religious discourse regulated or excluded but also race and religion are entwined, managed, or resisted. Methodologically and theoretically, these essays substantially deepen and complicate our understanding of secularism, religion, and race.

M. Shawn Copeland, Boston College

A turning point for understanding how relegating the sacred and the secular to incommensurable realms has produced and protected the structured advantages of whiteness and imbued the secular sphere with presumptions of innocence that preclude racial justice.

George Lipsitz, author of How Racism Takes Place

This review cannot do justice to the brilliance, beauty, and timeliness of these essays... The joy of reading these essays lies in the nuances and subtleties of the arguments.

Marginalia LARB
Introduction: Managing Race, Managing Religion, by Vincent W. Lloyd
Part I: Orientations
1. White Supremacy and Black Insurgency as Political Theology, by George Shulman
2. Secular Compared to What? Toward a History of the Trope of Black Sacred/Secular Fluidity, by Josef Sorett
Part II: Readings
3. Slaves, Slavery, and the Secular Age: Or, Tales of Haunted Scholars, Liberating Prisons, Exorcised Divinities, and Immanent Devils, by Edward J. Blum
4. "Welcome Back to the Living": Resurrections of Martin Luther King Jr. in a Secular Age, by Erica R. Edwards
5. Overlooking Race and Secularism in Muslim Philadelphia, by Joel Blecher and Joshua Dubler
Part III: Inflections
6. Two Ways of Looking at an Invisible Man: Race, the Secular, and Ralph Ellison's Invisible Theology, by M. Cooper Harriss
7. Secular Coloniality: The Afterlife of Religious and Racial Tropes, by William D. Hart
8. Binding Landscapes: Secularism, Race, and the Spatial Modern, by Willie James Jennings
Conclusion: James Baldwin and a Theology of Justice in a Secular Age, by Jonathon Kahn
Afterword: Critical Intersections: Race, Secularism, Gender, by Tracy Fessenden
List of Contributors
Index

About the Author

Jonathon S. Kahn is associate professor of religion at Vassar College. He is the author of Divine Discontent: The Religious Imagination of W. E. B. Du Bois.

Vincent W. Lloyd is assistant professor of religion at Syracuse University. His books include The Problem with Grace: Reconfiguring Political Theology and the edited volume Race and Political Theology.