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Race, Nation, and Religion in the Americas

Edited by Henry Goldschmidt and Elizabeth McAlister

Publication Date - 12 August 2004

ISBN: 9780195149197

352 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


The pioneering essays collected in this volume bring critical new perspectives to the interdisciplinary study of racial, national, and religious identities. The authors demonstrate that one cannot study these categories of identity formation in isolation, but must instead examine the ways each intersects with-and ultimately helps construct-the others. This innovative theoretical perspective sheds new light on the role of religion in shaping the lives of diverse communities throughout the Americas and forces us to reevaluate the reductive opposition between secular and religious identities. The twelve essays in the volume explore the ties between race, nation, and religion in ethnographic and historical detail. Topics range from Jesuit mission work to Hollywood film, manifest destiny to liberation theology, the Haitian Rara festival to American immigration law. In these and other contexts, the authors explore the intertwined histories of a hemisphere defined at the charged intersections of race, nation, and religion.

About the Author(s)

Henry Goldschmidt is Assistant Professor of Religion and Society at Wesleyan University. His research has focused on Black-Jewish difference in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights. Elizabeth McAlister is Associate Professor in the Department of Religion and in the programs in American Studies, African-American Studies, and Latin American Studies at Wesleyan University. She is the author of Rara!: Vodou, Power, and Performance in Haiti and its Diaspora (2002).


"Even though race, religion, and nation are concepts that have been challenged and deconstructed, their social and symbolic power is unquestioned. This collection is an important step in exposing and illuminating their convergences."--HOICE

"The complex relationship between race, nationality, and religion is currently one of the most important topics in the study of American culture. The essays in this book analyze the subject in sophisticated and fascinating ways and the volume as a whole is particularly valuable for treating the constitution of collective identities in comparative perspective." --Albert J. Raboteau, Henry W. Putnam Professor of Religion, Princeton University

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