Leaders in the American Academy of Religion have committed the guild to resisting the current wave of white nationalist and white supremacist machinations, presenting our discipline as particularly suited for the task. But given the study of religion’s intimate historical relationship with the modern Christian colonial project, scholars can equally find themselves reinforcing the socio‐interpretive modalities—namely essentialism—upon which whiteness is premised. This paper presents critical scripture studies, particularly its elaboration of processes abbreviated in biblical interpretation, as an avenue for deconstructing assumptions about how whiteness works.
The American Academy of Religion resoundingly condemns white nationalism and urges all members, individually, institutionally, and collectively, to fight against white supremacy and white nationalism while standing alongside those who bear the brunt of this violent ideology, willful ignorance, and oppressive behavior. The American Academy of Religion advocates for the study of religion as a powerful means to resist white supremacist structures, policies, and thought patterns. In promoting its values of academic excellence, professional responsibility, free inquiry, critical examination, diversity, inclusion, respect, and transparency in the study of religion, the American Academy of Religion hopes to help uncover and dismantle white supremacy at the structural and personal levels. The American Academy of Religion acknowledges that the lives of scholars, teachers, and students of religion are made better, more productive, and more meaningful by diversity of all kinds.Against White Nationalism: A Statement by the AAR Board of Directors, August 12, 2019.
Richard Newton, “Racial profiling?: Theorizing Essentialism, Whiteness, and Scripture in the Study of Religion,” Religion Compass. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/rec3.12369