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Recent scholarship in the humanities on “postcolonial” or “decolonial” theory seeks to uncover the continuing effects of colonialism and its hierarchies in our modes of thinking. The term “coloniality,” names patterns of thought that emerge from and remain after colonialism. While well-known postcolonial theory focuses on the nineteenth- and twentieth-century colonialism, decolonial theory takes a longer view, to include Spanish and Portuguese colonial projects. Doing so makes the implications of Christianity visible—not simply in the explicit arguments about colonialism and mission, but also in the ways that religious worldviews have shaped understandings of what it means to be human.
The colloquium will explore how coloniality and racialization continue to shape the study of religion, exploring what concepts, sources, and practices can help the field move in beyond that legacy. We will ask what forms of thinking may disrupt the normative categories of philosophy of religion. What could be accomplished if we set out to rethink ‘religion’ starting from theories of coloniality and race?