2019-2020 Catalog

RELS 259 Race and Religion

Students will use the United States and Brazil as sites of comparison through which to understand the various relationships between religion and race in the Americas. In both places we will ask: Where can we find African religion in the Americas? How have religious practitioners, scholars, and even entertainers decided what is "authentically African," and to what ends? And how has religion - and the social scientific study of it - served as an arena for negotiating racial and ethnic difference? By the end of the class, students will emerge with an understanding of different black religious traditions across the Americas - ranging from black Islam and Christianity in the U.S., to transnational Santeria, to Brazilian Candomble and Umbanda- as well as what is at stake in defining a category like "black religion."  Students will understand how scholars have studied these traditions over time and how practitioners and scholars' notions of black religion have shaped contemporary understandings of race and ethnicity in the Americas.


4 units

Cross Listed Courses

BLST 259

Core Requirements Met

  • United States Diversity