Race and Religion Conference

Race and Religion in American History
Princeton University
March 7-8, 2014

Most often when scholars of religion in America invoke “race,” they use the term to signal the inclusion of African Americans in their work rather than to mark a sustained engagement of racial categories, concepts, or the functions of race in a given context. In such cases, people of African descent alone bear the burden of racialization, and the failure to theorize race results in the reification of particularly American practices as obvious, transhistorical and universal. Even when scholars address “peoples of color” other than those of African descent as racialized, “race” serves not as an analytical category, but an interpretive shortcut for signaling social marginalization or outsider status, for example. And, for the most part, whiteness remains unmarked and uninterrogated. As such, the complex processes of racial construction, transformations in racial categories and identities, and the relation of religious belief and practice to these constructions remains surprisingly understudied in the field of American religious history. This conference will feature new research in which scholars theorize race and religion together, seek to discern the trajectory of historical developments, and consider interactions between race and religion in a comparative frame across religious affiliations and racial categorization.

Organized by Professor Judith Weisenfeld, this conference was made possible by the generous support of the Center for African American Studies, the Center for Human Values, the Center for the Study of Religion, the Council of the Humanities, the Program in American Studies and the Department of Religion.


Friday, March 7, 2014
Location: Jones Hall 202

1:00  Welcome and Opening Remarks

Judith Weisenfeld, Princeton University

1:30-3:00  Defining and Categorizing

Chair: Wallace Best, Princeton University

Sarah Imhoff, Indiana University
Michael D. McNally, Carleton College     

3:30-5:00  Visual and Sensory Cultures

Chair: Beth Stroud, Princeton University

Anthea Butler, University of Pennsylvania
Rachel McBride Lindsey, Washington University in St. Louis

Saturday, March 8, 2014
Location: Jones Hall 202

9:00-10:30  Transnational Engagements

Chair: Jessica Delgado, Princeton University

Kathi Kern, University of Kentucky
Sylvester Johnson, Northwestern University

11:00-12:30  Popular Culture

Chair: Leslie Ribovich, Princeton University

John L. Jackson, Jr., University of Pennsylvania
Jane Iwamura, University of the West

1:30-3:00   Memory and Commemoration

Chair: Kelsey Moss, Princeton University

Brandi Hughes, University of Michigan
Quincy D. Newell, University of Wyoming

3:30-5:30  Concluding Panel and Discussion

Chair: Vaughn Booker, Princeton University

Ann Braude, Harvard Divinity School
David Kyuman Kim, Connecticut College
Judith Weisenfeld, Princeton University

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Department of Religion – Princeton University