This chapter extends the analysis of religious formations in colonial situations by focusing on imperialism. As critical research on religion, the study of imperialism and religion directs attention to religious creativity within the asymmetrical power relations of contact zones, intercultural relations, and diasporic circulations. Starting with the imperial ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, which featured a pageant of the imperial myth of progress from savagery to civilization, this chapter recalls how the Shakespearean drama of the imperial Prospero and the colonized Caliban has been a template for analyzing religion under colonial conditions. Like Shakespeare’s enchanted isle, colonizing and colonized religion have been shaped by oceans, with the Mediterranean, Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific worlds emerging as crucial units of analysis. By attending to imperial and colonial formations, this chapter indicates some of the important landmarks, sea changes, and possibilities in the study of imperialism and religion.
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