Special Issue "Racism and Religious Diversity in the United States"

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: closed (31 October 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Jeannine Hill Fletcher
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Theology, Fordham University, Bronx, NY 10458, USA
Interests: religious diversity; gender; race; Christian theology; white supremacy/white nationalism

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Religions seeks to highlight the intersection between racial diversity and religious diversity as a critical location for scholarly investigation. The topic of ‘racism and religious diversity’ aims to engage discourses of religious diversity with the goal of illuminating currents of racial discourse within them, and to incorporate the critical engagement of race and racism within the study of religious diversity. The goal of this issue is to consider the intersection of racism and religious diversity in the United States from an historical and contemporary perspective, employing a wide range of methodologies. Importantly, this volume will recognize the need for increased attention to this area within our moment, which has witnessed the rise of white nationalism in the United States.

I am writing to invite your contribution to a Special Issue of Religions, which will focus on racism and religious diversity in the United States. With this topic, we are interested in engaging the lacunae that can be seen in discourses on religious diversity that have overlooked the importance of addressing race and racism in the United States.

While the focus on ‘religious diversity’ has created a bourgeoning field in theology and the study of religions, as well as interfaith and interreligious studies, very little of the discussion has been attentive to the way race and racism figure into America’s multireligious landscape. The topic of ‘racism and religious diversity’ aims to engage discourses of religious diversity with the goal of illuminating the currents of racial discourse within them, and to incorporate the critical engagement of race and racism within the study of religious diversity. The goal of this issue is to consider the intersection of racism and religious diversity in the United States from an historical and contemporary perspective, employing a wide range of methodologies. Importantly, this volume will recognize the need for increased attention to this area within our moment, which has witnessed the rise of white nationalism in the United States.

Prof. Jeannine Hill Fletcher
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 papers will be 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 1200 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.

Keywords

  • religious diversity
  • race
  • racism
  • interfaith studies
  • interreligious

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Terraforming Religious Consciousness: Race as a Signifier in New World Religious Cosmogony
Religions 2020, 11(8), 408; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11080408 - 07 Aug 2020
Viewed by 972
Abstract
What is the connection between race and religious diversity? This question has emerged as particularly important in recent times, following heightened discussions on racial justice, equity, and the organization of society with regard to racial oppression. The terms race and religious diversity imply [...] Read more.
What is the connection between race and religious diversity? This question has emerged as particularly important in recent times, following heightened discussions on racial justice, equity, and the organization of society with regard to racial oppression. The terms race and religious diversity imply distinct points of contact that have within them diverse perspectives and worldviews, that carry with them assumed foundational understandings of the world and unexamined understandings of how the universe functions. This article explores the connection between race and religious diversity by discussing the physical and intellectual landscape and by raising concerns about the historical and religious-symbolic background of the Atlantic World. This background assumes the fact that the Atlantic World is more than just a historical phenomenon. Instead, the formation and operation of the Atlantic World reveals the construction of a cosmogony that informs racial (social/relational) and religious discourse (imagination/intellectual). The Atlantic World cosmogony arose from the conquest of the Americas by European interests, resulting in a terraforming process that adapted the New World to European sensibilities. The story of the Atlantic World cosmogony and the terraforming of the Americas serve as two points of reflection that call for assessing the connection of race and religious diversity. Concomitantly, considering the foreground of the Atlantic World cosmogony and terraforming opens the possibility of resituating the way we critically approach the discourse on race and religious diversity, allowing for communities to candidly express efforts to move beyond the history of the effects generated by the conquest of the Americas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Racism and Religious Diversity in the United States)
Article
All Mixed up: Multi/Racial Liberation and Compassion-Based Activism
Religions 2020, 11(8), 402; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11080402 - 06 Aug 2020
Viewed by 1277
Abstract
This paper seeks to identify pathways of liberation amidst contemporary challenges faced by those who identify as multiracial by re-imagining various approaches to confronting racial oppression through compassion-based activism. The primary question of this study focuses on how compassion (as broadly understood by [...] Read more.
This paper seeks to identify pathways of liberation amidst contemporary challenges faced by those who identify as multiracial by re-imagining various approaches to confronting racial oppression through compassion-based activism. The primary question of this study focuses on how compassion (as broadly understood by and across the world’s spiritual traditions) might sustain, invigorate, or be adapted to aid the struggle for racial justice in the United States. This paper begins with reviewing theories from critical mixed race studies and brings them into dialogue with the eight themes of compassion-based activism. The results of this interdisciplinary study provide both the promises and challenges to a compassion-based approach when it comes to multi/racial liberation and proposes a reinterpretation that centers multi/racial experiences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Racism and Religious Diversity in the United States)
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Article
American Muslims’ Da’wah Work and Islamic Conversion
Religions 2020, 11(8), 383; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11080383 - 24 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1147
Abstract
Prior to the “9/11 attacks”, negative images of Islam in America were prevalent, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks made the situation for, and image of, Islam more sinister than before. Notwithstanding the extreme Islamophobia, one notes that, ironically in America, more people have [...] Read more.
Prior to the “9/11 attacks”, negative images of Islam in America were prevalent, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks made the situation for, and image of, Islam more sinister than before. Notwithstanding the extreme Islamophobia, one notes that, ironically in America, more people have been embracing Islam since, at least, the beginning of the twentieth century. Conversion to Islam in America seems to be a deviation from the adverse American public opinions towards Islam. An important question that, therefore, arises is: “Why are Americans converting to Islam despite negative public perception of the religion?” Perhaps Americans have been coerced into conversion by Muslim preachers through the latter’s meticulous and hard-hitting missionary work. In this qualitative study, the authors aim to explore how the missionary work, i.e., “Da’wah”, by some American Muslim missionaries influenced the conversion to Islam of those who were in contact with them. The authors argue that, unlike other Abrahamic proselytizing faiths such as Christianity or the Bahai faith, American Muslim proselytizing was not solely based on direct teaching of the tenets of the religion but also one that demonstrated faith by deeds or actions, which then made Islam attractive and influenced conversion of non-Muslims. These findings come from in-depth fieldwork that included interviews with forty-nine Muslim converts across the United States between June 2014 and May 2015. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Racism and Religious Diversity in the United States)
Article
The Creation of the Devil and the End of the White Man’s Rule: The Theological Influence of the Nation of Islam on Early Black Theology
Religions 2020, 11(6), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060305 - 22 Jun 2020
Viewed by 1170
Abstract
This article examines the emergence of the Black Theology movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s in the context of the religiously diverse milieu of Black political movements during the same period. In particular, the theology of the Nation of Islam was [...] Read more.
This article examines the emergence of the Black Theology movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s in the context of the religiously diverse milieu of Black political movements during the same period. In particular, the theology of the Nation of Islam was widely understood by contemporary commentators as a major source of the confrontational rhetoric and tactics of the Black Power movement. Drawing upon the writings of the radical Black nationalist minister Albert B. Cleage, Jr., this article examines the importance of what Cleage termed the Nation of Islam’s “Black cultural mythology” in providing the possibility of a break in identification with white Christianity. In particular, it traces the influence of the Nation of Islam’s proclamation of God’s imminent apocalyptic destruction of white America on the theology of James H. Cone and Cleage. In doing so, this article argues for the importance of examining questions of racial and religious difference in American history alongside one another. It was precisely through creative appropriation of a non-Christian framework of biblical interpretation, rooted in faith in God’s complete identification with Black humanity and the consequent imminent judgment of white America, that early (Christian) Black Theologians were able to retain their Christian identity and sever its entanglement with white supremacy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Racism and Religious Diversity in the United States)

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Essay
Religious Amnesias, Mythologies, and Apolitical Affects in Racist Landscapes
Religions 2020, 11(11), 615; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11110615 - 18 Nov 2020
Viewed by 561
Abstract
Given their explicit attention to contextual realities, liberation theologies have different expressions in various global contexts. One element they all have in common, however, is a sustained interest in the effects of historical processes. Dalit theology, a liberation theology arising from the struggles [...] Read more.
Given their explicit attention to contextual realities, liberation theologies have different expressions in various global contexts. One element they all have in common, however, is a sustained interest in the effects of historical processes. Dalit theology, a liberation theology arising from the struggles and hopes of Dalit communities in India, is in attunement with such critical analyses of the factors that shape power and domination. By drawing comparisons between the geography of a typical Indian village/town—in which bodies are segregated by caste belonging—and the increasing gentrification in towns and cities in the U.S.—in which bodies are segregated by the aftereffects of racialized geographies—the essay argues that domination today is better understood through affective encounters or the lack thereof. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Racism and Religious Diversity in the United States)
Essay
White Christian Privilege in 2020: A Review Essay
Religions 2020, 11(7), 357; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11070357 - 14 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1520
Abstract
This review essay examines Khyati Y. Joshi’s new book, White Christian Privilege: The Illusion of Religious Equality in America. With attention to relevant historiography on religion and race, as well as reflection on contemporary white Christian nationalism, this review essay argues that [...] Read more.
This review essay examines Khyati Y. Joshi’s new book, White Christian Privilege: The Illusion of Religious Equality in America. With attention to relevant historiography on religion and race, as well as reflection on contemporary white Christian nationalism, this review essay argues that Joshi’s book is an important contribution to the field and will be particularly instructive in classrooms and other educational settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Racism and Religious Diversity in the United States)
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