Race, Religion, and Ethnicity: Critical Junctures

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 September 2024 | Viewed by 992

Special Issue Editors

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Islamic Studies, Radboud University, 6525 XZ Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Interests: Salafism; activism; racialization; islamophobia
Department of Political Science, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, 2 1050 Brussels, Belgium
Interests: animal politics; multiculturalism; racialization; islamophobia

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

What makes race, religion, and ethnicity work? This Special Issue of Religions is dedicated to studying, mapping, interpreting, analyzing, dis/entangling, and de/constructing the manifestations, productions, and intertwinements of the categories of race, religion, and ethnicity.

We specifically invite junior researchers working with majority and minority groups that engage with race, religion, and ethnicity in terms of talking back, meaning-making, dialogue, and conflict.

The aims of this Special Issue are twofold. First, we want to critically investigate the theoretical and/or empirical interactions between race/religion/ethnicity in a variety of contexts. Second, we aim to analyze the space afforded to and created by people invoked by these categories to actively dis/engage with notions of race, religion, and/or ethnicity.

Considering race/religion/ethnicity

Scholars working on either race, ethnicity, or religion tend to overlook the manifold interactions between these categories, leaving the conceptual and empirical intersections between them unclear. This hinders a critical assessment of the logics of their entanglement, separation, the concrete work these categories do, and their concrete manifestations.

In the European context, for example, the genocidal campaign in Bosnia in the 1990s has elicited some discussion on the overlap and (dis-)entanglement of ethnicity and religion (Ruane and Todd 2016; Fox 2000); however, race has mostly been ignored (But see: Baker 2018). Recently, the interactions between religion and race have been given more attention (Jansen and Meer 2020; Meer 2013; Husain 2017, 2019; Tembo 2022; Topolski 2018); however, the ways in which ethnicity figures therein remains unclear. Frequently the category of ethnicity is entirely absent or is conflated with either religion or race (Emerson, Korver-Glenn, and Douds 2015).

We suggest that the interactions between race/religion/ethnicity matter for how they operate as governmental technologies of states, how they figure in people’s hopes and aspirations, and how they allow for certain ascriptions and assertions of identities, as well as for resisting these.

This Special Issue, therefore, aims to excavate an analytical space from where we can consider the mutual interactions within and between configurations of race, religion, and ethnicity, in history and contemporary times across different areas of the globe.

The Special Issue: bringing race/religion/ethnicity into conversation

This Special Issue should animate scholarly inquiry surrounding the manifold intersections between race, religion, and ethnicity, as well as give critical consideration to the kind of work these categories and constellations do. We are inspired by the following questions, but welcome any other writings if they relate to the main objectives of this Special Issue:

  • How are relations between race, religion, and ethnicity expressed and manifested within racial–religious–ethnic configurations (or religio-racial, ethno-racial, or ethno-religious configurations)?
  • How have specific racial–religious–ethnic configurations come into being and how do these configurations interrelate? What are the effects of drawing or erasing boundaries between race/religion/ethnicity and the ways that these boundaries are drawn or erased?
  • How do these configurations engage with society at large on a regional, national, or transnational level?
  • To what extent have racial–religious–ethnic configurations become governmental technologies to assign, articulate, and manage human “difference” and by whom? How do those seen as belonging to a racial–religious–ethnic configuration respond to these technologies?
  • To what extent are race/religion/ethnicity dis/entangled with other configurations such as caste and indigeneity?
  • How have racial–religious–ethnic minorities dis/engaged with the entanglement of race, religion, and ethnicity?
  • What roles do religionization, racialization, and ethnicization play in the entanglement of race, religion, and ethnicity? And how do we distinguish these concepts and processes in scholarly analysis?
  • How do racial–religious–ethnic configurations instantiate norms of humanness? How are racial–religious–ethnic configurations put to work to construct, differentiate, and subsequently manage discourses on humanity and animality?

These questions can be pursued at the level of institutions, collectives, or individuals. Studies can be situated in a variety of sectors or geographies or can be entirely theoretical. We welcome contributions from a broad range of (inter)disciplinary perspectives, including but not limited to anthropology, political sciences, philosophy, theology, sociology of religion, and history. We particularly encourage early career scholars, scholars in precarious institutional positions, and scholars from the global South to submit their work.

We wish to complete the Special Issue by September 2024. Please submit an abstract and title of your proposed contribution by 15 January 2024 to the Guest Editors Mariska Jung ([email protected]) and Martijn de Koning ([email protected]). Abstracts are reviewed by the Guest Editors to ensure a proper fit within the scope of this Special Issue. Full manuscripts of 6.000–10.000 words should subsequently be submitted by 15 May 2024, and will undergo double-blind peer-review.


Baker, Catherine. 2018. Race and the Yugoslav region: Postsocialist, post-conflict, postcolonial? Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press.

Emerson, Michael O., Elizabeth Korver-Glenn, and Kiara W. Douds. 2015. "Studying Race and Religion." Sociology of Race and Ethnicity 1 (3):349–359. doi: 10.1177/2332649215584759.

Fox, Jonathan. 2000. "The ethnic‐religious nexus: The impact of religion on ethnic conflict." Civil Wars 3 (3):1–22. doi: 10.1080/13698240008402444.

Husain, Atiya. 2017. "Retrieving the religion in racialization: A critical review." Sociology Compass 11 (9):e12507. doi: 10.1111/soc4.12507.

Husain, Atiya. 2019. "Moving beyond (and back to) the black–white binary: a study of black and white Muslims’ racial positioning in the United States." Ethnic and Racial Studies 42 (4):589–606. doi: 10.1080/01419870.2017.1410199.

Jansen, Yolande, and Nasar Meer. 2020. "Genealogies of ‘Jews’ and ‘Muslims’: social imaginaries in the race–religion nexus." Patterns of Prejudice:1–14. doi: 10.1080/0031322x.2019.1696046.

Meer, Nasar. 2013. "Racialization and religion: race, culture and difference in the study of antisemitism and Islamophobia." Ethnic and Racial Studies 36 (3):385–398. doi: 10.1080/01419870.2013.734392.

Ruane, Joseph, and Jennifer Todd. 2016. "Ethnicity and religion." In The Routledge handbook of ethnic conflict, edited by Karl Cordell and Stefan Wolff, 67–77. London: Routledge.

Tembo, Josias. 2022. "Race-religion constellation: An argument for a Trans-Atlantic Interactive-Relational Approach." Critical Research on Religion 10 (2):137–152. doi: 10.1177/20503032221102443.

Topolski, Anya. 2018. "The Race-Religion Constellation: A European Contribution to the Critical Philosophy of Race." Critical Philosophy of Race 6 (1):58–81.

Dr. Martijn De Koning
Guest Editor

Mariska Jung
Co-Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • race
  • religion
  • ethnicity
  • governance
  • human
  • activism

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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