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date: 24 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

There exists a wide range of terms of religious mixture, featuring syncretism and hybridization most prominently, but also creolization, transculturation, and métissage. These competing terms of mixture possess different genealogies and impinge on ‘religion’ differently, such that they should not be simply interchanged or arbitrarily applied. Second, terms of religious mixture have been unevenly used. Brazil and Japan, for example, have often been studied as examples of syncretism while other sites have been elevated as examples of purity. In this sense theories of mixture are entwined with, and help to constitute, certain religious geographies, or ‘worlds.’ Despite repeated calls for the removal of ‘syncretism’ and other terms of mixture from the scholarly lexicon, they remain as widely used as ever, even enjoying a renaissance in fields like science and technology studies. The revivals of terms of mixture in adjacent fields offer potential new uses for the study of religion.

Keywords: creolization, hybridity, syncretism, religion, transculturation

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