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Grant number like: FT-61568-14

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Aisha Khan
New York University (New York, NY 10012-1019)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2014 – 8/31/2014

Religion and the View from Caribbean Obeah and Hosay

Sacred Sacrilege is a study of the intersections of religious and racial identities through comparative analysis of Obeah and Hosay, two of the Caribbean region's defining yet understudied religions. My approach is an ethnographic one that draws on the phenomenological tradition. Although heterogeneous in beliefs and practitioners, Obeah and Hosay typically are characterized as antithetical, based on their origins in West Africa and India. My project probes assumptions about the inevitable tensions of religious and racial difference in the Caribbean by exploring lived experience filtered through western Enlightenment conceptualizations of religion and race across Caribbean-Atlantic space, and colonial and postcolonial time. Inquiring into the relationship between interpretive categories of religion and race, their modes of practice, and the power relations that form their contexts allows better understanding of identities, conflict and governance, and cultural heritage in the Americas.