Religious Racial Formation Theory and its Metaphysics

In Blake Hereth & Kevin Timpe (eds.), The Lost Sheep in Philosophy of Religion: New Perspectives on Disability, Gender, Race, and Animals. New York, NY, USA: Routledge. pp. 365-390 (2020)
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While the intersection between race and religion has been an important site for research for the sociology of religion and religious studies (in its descriptive dimensions) as well s theology (in its religiously normative dimensions), neither of these disciplines has incorporated recent work in the analytic philosophy of race. Analytic philosophy of race, for its part, has largely neglected the race/religion intersection, while analytic theologians by and large ignore the theological significance of race altogether. In this paper I am to draw together these distinct disciplinary contributions—social-historical, philosophical and normative-theological—into a single integrated framework for a research program in analytic theology. I call that framework “religious racial formation theory,” and I claim that the work of specifying a determinate religious racial formation theory is not merely a (normatively driven) sociological and historical task but a necessarily philosophical one. I then detail what sorts of metaphysical determinations are required in order to yield an adequate explanation of the intersection uncovered by the socio-historical data summarized in the first section.
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