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date: 25 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers the ways in which racial violence in the nineteenth century proved formative to developments in the religious lives of people raced outside of whiteness. It draws on borderlands scholar Luís León’s description of marginalized communities transforming existing religious concepts and practices, as well as creating new religious options, a process he calls religious poetics. It also suggests the critical importance of debating and enacting racial violence for members of communities raced white. These actors engaged in a poetics of racial violence, in which they sought to interpret and reconfigure their worlds in relation to the violence that perpetuated America’s racial order. The chapter surveys justifications for and condemnations of racial violence, as well as responses to racial violence, in an effort to explore how religion and violence intersected in the ongoing development of racial classifications and the circulation of social power in nineteenth-century America.

Keywords: violence, race, African Americans, Native Americans, Mexican Americans, Chinese Americans, abolition, social reform, lynching, sexual violence

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