Seminar Series: Religion, Race and Racism - Transnational Conversations

3rd March, 2021


Series description:

From the rise of white Christian nationalism in the United States to anti-immigration rhetoric against 'Muslim refugees' in Europe, the imbrication of race, racism and religion extends across geographic locations, social settings, and political contexts. As xenophobia and discrimination surge around the globe, religion and race are often conflated in everyday violence, yet their relationship is undertheorised in scholarly research. While scholars of religion and critical race theorists are rarely in conversation about these intersections, recent works have pushed for more analysis of the race-religion interplay. Inspired by pioneering scholarship such as Kathryn Gin Lum, Nasar Meer, and Esra Özyürek, this Seminar Series Religion, Race and Racism - Transnational Conversations, brings emerging and senior scholars into conversation. In doing so, we reject a single-issue approach to the study of key social and political events, and push for an intersectional approach to the study of race, racism and religion. Through ethnographic, sociological and historical case studies, the series engages with the following questions:

By facilitating conversations between leading scholars examining the relationship between race and religion, this series offers divergent perspectives, opposing views, and creative theorisations to offer fresh analytical tools for an urgent area of study.


Katie Gaddini, Dunya Habash and Lea Taragin-Zeller

Registration details:

Please register for each session using the links below.

Seminar schedule:

3 March 2021, 3.30-4.30pm: 'Encounters of Race, Religion and Biomedicine'

Discussant: Dr Lea Taragin Zeller, Technion Institute of Technology (Haifa) and Woolf Institute (Cambridge)

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11 March 2021, 3.30-4.30pm: 'Christianity and Whiteness in America: From Past to Present'

Discussant: Dr Katie Gaddini, Social Research Institute, University College London

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22 March 2021, 3.30-4.30pm: 'The Crescent, Colour and Capitalism: Migration and Integration Politics

Discussant: Dunya Habash, Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge and Woolf Institute

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Speaker bios:

Mwenza Blell is currently a Rutherford Fellow affiliated to Health Data Research UK, a Newcastle University Academic Track Fellow, and a Grant Researcher at Tampere University. Her research draws from ethnography to examine intransigent and often invisible structures of injustice.

Risa Cromer is a cultural anthropologist and feminist science studies scholar whose research investigates the intersections of reproductive medicine, technologies and politics in the United States. She is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Purdue University and affiliate faculty in the Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Critical Disability Studies programmes. She is working on her first book manuscript, Ex Utero: Frozen Embryo Politics in the United States, which examines the practice of embryo adoption led by white evangelical opponents of abortion.

Philip Gorski is a comparative-historical sociologist at Yale University, Department of Sociology. His research focuses on the interaction of religion and politics in early modern and modern Europe and North America. He is the author, most recently, of American Babylon: Democracy and Christianity Before and After Trump (Routledge 2020). With Sam Perry, he is currently completing a book titled White Christian Nationalism: A Primer.

Ezgi Guner received her PhD in Anthropology with a minor in African Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her work focuses on the articulation of race and religion with global capitalism in the context of Turkey's contemporary relations with Africa south of the Sahara. She conducted a multi-sited ethnography in Turkey, Tanzania, Senegal, Gambia and Benin. Guner was a visiting fellow in the Anthropology Department at Harvard University in 2018 and an Ernst Mach Fellow at the Centre for Southeast European Studies at the University of Graz in 2019-2020.

Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez is Professor of General Sociology at the Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Germany. She is also an Adjunct Faculty Professor at the University of Alberta (Canada) and a Visiting Professor in the Chair for Critical Studies in Higher Education Transformation at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth (South Africa).

Noah Tamarkin is an assistant professor of Anthropology and Science & Technology Studies at Cornell University and a research associate at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is the author of Genetic Afterlives: Black Jewish Indigeneity in South Africa (Duke University Press 2020). Genetic Afterlives ethnographically examines the politics of race, religion and recognition among Lemba people, Black South Africans who were part of Jewish genetic ancestry studies in the 1980s and 1990s.

Esra Özyürek is the Sultan Qaboos Professor of Abrahamic Religions and Shared Values and the Director of Cambridge Interfaith Programme at the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge. She joined University of Cambridge after having taught at the London School of Economics and University of California, San Diego. She completed her PhD at the University of Michigan and prior to that she received and completed her undergraduate degree in Sociology and Political Science at Bogazici University, Istanbul. She is the author of Nostalgia for the Modern: State Secularism and Everyday Politics in Turkey (Duke University Press, 2006) and Being German, Becoming Muslim: Race, Religion, and Conversion in the New Europe (Princeton University Press, 2014).

Jemar Tisby is a public historian specialising in race, religion, politics, and culture. He is the author of the New York Times Bestseller The Color of Compromise: The Truth About the American Church's Complicity in Racism and How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Racial Justice. Mr. Tisby is the CEO of The Witness Inc., an organisation dedicated to Black uplift from a Christian perspective.

Please Note: The entry date for this conference has now passed.

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