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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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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 25 July 2021

Apartheid

Apartheid

Chapter:
(p.124) 10 Apartheid
Source:
Religion
Author(s):

David Chidester

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520297654.003.0011

Apartheid was established in South Africa between 1948 and 1994 as a force of exclusion and incorporation, excluding people from citizenship and exploiting people as labor. This chapter suggests that the term apartheid, meaning “separation,” was formative for certain ways of thinking about religion. One of the architects of apartheid, the anthropologist W. M. Eiselen, was a leading expert on indigenous religions in South Africa. Eiselen’s writings on African religion illustrate three overlapping types of comparative religion—a frontier comparative religion based on denial and containment; an imperial comparative religion assuming evolutionary progress from savagery to civilization; and an apartheid comparative religion creating and reinforcing boundaries to keep people apart. Although apartheid was formally established as a racist policy of separation in South Africa, the making and maintaining of boundaries has been a recurring feature of religious formations.

Keywords:   apartheid, boundaries, civilization, frontier comparative religion, imperial comparative religion, indigenous religion, savagery, South Africa, W. M. Eiselen

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