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Religion & Colonialism

What happens to religious beliefs and practices in sites of colonial contact? How have colonial encounters shaped our knowledge of religion? These two questions will frame our semester-long inquiry into colonial religious practices and the production of knowledge about religion in colonial settings. Along the way, we will pay close attention to how religion relates to other sites of social power and organization, namely race, gender, and nation. This course focuses on various empires as they were/are constituted in Asia, Africa, and North America. Through these case studies, we will explore the institutions, texts, practices, and material cultures through which varying historical actors created and negotiated the religious in the context of modern empires. To do so, we will focus our attention on primary sources alongside secondary analysis by modern scholars.


This syllabus was created for the Young Scholars in American Religion program.

Justine Howe

Case Western Reserve University

Private College or University
Institution Type

Resource Type

Undergraduate Course, Graduate Course
Class Type

Date Published

Religious Studies, History

General Comparative Traditions
Religous Tradition

Class/Power, Empire/Foreign Policy/Globalism, Gender/Women/ Sexuality, Race/Ethnicity

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