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ReligionMaterial Dynamics$
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David Chidester

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780520297654

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520297654.001.0001

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(p.104) 8 Colonialism

David Chidester

University of California Press

This chapter situates religious formations in the contact zones and power relations of colonial situations. Referring to the settlement of a distant territory by foreigners, colonialism entails the use of military force and political power to create and maintain a situation in which colonizers gain economic benefits by exploiting trade, raw materials, and the labor of indigenous people. For the study of religion, colonialism calls attention to the role of religion in intercultural contact; the force of religion in the conquest and control of indigenous populations; and the changing character of religious subjectivity and agency, especially in relation to the inherent violence of colonialism. These issues are examined by referring to the analysis of anticolonial theorists, such as Mohandas K. Gandhi, Frantz Fanon, and Eduardo Mondlane. While colonialism has played an important role in the history of religions, it has also shaped the modern categories of religion and religions.

Keywords:   agency, colonialism, contact zones, Eduardo Mondlane, Frantz Fanon, history of the study of religion, indigenous, Mohandas K. Gandhi, subjectivity, violence

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