Religion and the Fabrication of Race

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This article questions recent critiques of Eurocentrism for silencing religion in favour of either culture or race. Quite ironically, these critiques draw from a Eurocentric spatio-temporal horizon embedded in Enlightenment thinking. A crucial element of that horizon is a tacit acceptance of secularity as the ontological condition of differentiation, reflected in wholescale acknowledgement of the ascendancy of Scientific Racism and the displacement of religiosity. International practice increasingly manifests the confluence of religion and race and the difficulty of separating the two in explaining processes of differentiation and exclusion. Without adequate recognition of religion in critiques of Eurocentrism and sufficient appreciation of race in postsecular theorisation, the two frames of capture are likely to remain apart. In the first instance, critiques of Eurocentrism in IR cannot pretend to fully disown Enlightenment’s spatio-temporal horizon whilst wedded to its secular commitments. In the second instance, postsecular thinking risks reproducing its
own version of Eurocentrism without recognising race as a crucial marker of differentiation, not reducible to religious difference. A dialogical encounter and convergence between the two registers of critique can provide new openings for understanding.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-334
JournalMillennium: Journal of International Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 03 Jun 2017


  • race
  • religion
  • Eurocentrism


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