This presentation will discuss my recent digital scholarship on a phenomenon called “religious racism.” Devotees of Afro-Brazilian religions use this term to refer to the discrimination and violence that they have suffered in recent years. This terminology is meant to reflect that 21st century prejudices against African diaspora religions are rooted in centuries of racism dating back to slavery and colonialism.
Over the past five years, I have created several databases, maps, and reports tracking “religious racism” in the Americas. The purpose of this research has been to counter official rhetoric that often dismisses violent attacks as the result of neighborhood disputes rooted in interpersonal conflicts or criminal activity. I will discuss how I have collected data about these incidents and what this kind of research can teach us about the perpetrators, the victims, and the motivations behind attacks on African diaspora religions in the 21st century. I will also explore how recent attacks compare to persecution of Afro-Brazilian religions in the 19th and 20th centuries, following the end of slavery.
Danielle N. Boaz is an Associate Professor of Africana Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where she offers courses on human rights, social justice, and the law. Dr. Boaz is the author of Banning Black Gods: Law and Religions of the African Diaspora and Voodoo: The History of a Racial Slur. Her website, www.religiousracism.org/brazil, tracks cases of discrimination and violence against Afro-Brazilian religions. Dr. Boaz is also Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Africana Religions.
Contact Information: Katharine Bell, firstname.lastname@example.org
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