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date: 21 September 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter takes a step toward the theorization of discourses of race and racialization within the American Buddhist context. Far from being neutral observers, Buddhist Studies scholars have participated in the racialization of particular American Buddhisms. After mapping the landscape of key works on race, ethnicity, and American Buddhism, this chapter takes as a case study a collection of black Buddhist publications that reflect on race and ethnicity. Thus far, scholarship has ignored black Buddhists, yet black Buddhist reflections on race challenge dominant paradigms for the interpretation of the history of Buddhism and Buddhist teachings in the United States. This chapter concludes with suggestions for future avenues for research, including ways that we may connect the work of black Buddhists to the wider context of American religious history and American engagements with Asia.

Keywords: religion, American Buddhism, African American religion, race, ethnicity, embodiment, transnationalism, Orientalism, Afro-Orientalism

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