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02.05.2019 11:04 Alter: 109 days

The Race-Religion Constellation

Call for Publications

Theme: The Race-Religion Constellation
Subtitle: Entanglements in African Political Communities
Publication: South African Journal of Philosophy
Date: Special Issue (July 2020)
Deadline: 21.9.2019

The reality of political communities in Africa cannot be understood
properly independently of colonial racialization. The formation of
colonial political communities on the African continent, as Fanon has
shown, was premised on a Manichean world view, a compartmentalized
conception of a political community based on racial exclusion in
terms of the colour line. As such the vast amount of literature in
the field of critical philosophy of race, which is US-centric, has
focused on the race-colour intersection. This has begun to change as
it has been convincingly argued in Europe that race was
co-constituted with religion. During colonization the missionary’s
most consistent objective was “to expand "the absoluteness of
“Christianity" and its virtues” and “the missionary was also,
paradoxically, the best symbol of the colonial enterprise” (Mudimbe
1982, 47). To be sure, some scholarly attention is given to the role
of religion in colonial and postcolonial African social and political
imaginations and practices. Nonetheless, much less scholarly and
political attention has been given to understanding and unraveling
the co-constitution of race and religion in conceptions and practices
of colonial and postcolonial political racial exclusion in Africa.
Therefore, it is essential to take account of the impact and force of
the co-constitution of race and religion in the processes of
racialization and political exclusion as ‘religion’ is at the centre
of the European colonial and racial project (Ramose 1998 & Topolski
2018). In Africa today where religion plays a central role in
identity discourses and practices (Sanni 2015), the need to
understand the role of the race-religion intersection in the
constitution of political communities as conscripts of colonialism
and modes of political exclusion becomes imperative.

With the objective of understanding the intersection/co-constitution
of race and religion in the formation of systematic political
practices of exclusion in colonial and postcolonial African political
communities, and to develop a critical African philosophy of race
that focuses on the intersection of race and religion, the
Race-Religion Constellation Research Project invites scholars to
submit contributions for this special issue:

The Race-Religions Constellation Project recognizes the vastness,
diversity and multiplicities of past and present African experiences
of racialization and colonialism in political communities. While our
preference is for English submissions (and the publication will be in
English), if language is a barrier, we will consider contributions in
French, Arabic or Swahilli (and will find appropriate reviewers and
if the articles are selected, we will pay translation costs). We are
open to a diversity of disciplines and methodologies (e.g. history,
genealogical, theology, anthropology, sociological etc., with a
philosophical inflection) and are looking for critical contributions
that may consider answering some of the following questions:

- What notions and conceptions of ‘religion’ are politically
instituted in different African nation states and how do they relate
to racialization? What was the role of religion, and which
‘religions’ in the racialization of African subjects?

- How does ‘religion’ today as a heritage and conscript of racial
modernity function to include and exclude people in African political

- As colonial heritage, how does ‘religion’ function to define who is
human and who is not human or racialize people in contemporary
African political practices?

- How did religion, as a racial conscript, shape the idea of a
political community in African colonial and postcolonial practices?
How is political belonging defined in postcolonial African political
communities where Christianity and Islam are the main forms of

- What space is left for alternative forms of religious practice?
Including those indigenous to many African communities.

- What is the significance, for contemporary Africa, of the fact that
most of the early political leaders of Africa in the struggle against
colonialism were adherents to either Islam or Christianity?

We are also honoured that the distinguished scholar Mogobe Ramose,
Professor of Philosophy at Sefago Makgatho Health Sciences University
has agreed to write a response to all selected essays.

The articles should be between 6000 and 8000 words and are due on
September 21st 2019. Questions, ideas for abstracts and articles
should be sent to the guest editors with subject line: The
Race-Religion Constellation: 'Entanglements in African Political
Communities' and must follow the guidelines for South African Journal
of Philosophy.

Guest Editors:

Josias Tembo

Anya Topolski