The Race-Religion Constellation:

Antisemitism, Islamophobia and Antizyganism

The goal of my research is to develop a European critical philosophy of race by focusing on the intersection of race and religion manifest in terms of antisemitism, islamophobia and antizyganism. This proposal develops a framework to fill a significant lacuna in European philosophy. It is also directly relevant to societal concerns as it is impossible to understand the complexity of racial exclusion in Europe without a comprehensive understanding of the race-religion intersection. At present, the socially-constructed category of race is most often restricted to colour-based or biological notions of race. While many undoubtedly will challenge the need to re-open the painful past of European antisemitism in order to better understand its contemporary manifestations, just as many will refuse to acknowledge that islamophobia and antizyganism are forms of racism, it is imperative that these challenges be met not only by activists, but also by academics.

To fill this scholarly and societal omission, a structural analysis of the race-religion intersection is necessary. This analysis will make clear how racial exclusion in Europe is related to religious categories whose origins are in early modern religious struggles. This will not only allow us to understand many of the current problems of exclusion Europe is confronted with, it will also allow us to conceptualise non-exclusionary forms of political community.

A community can be conceptualised as a “system of inclusion and exclusion” (Linklater 1998, 2). The meaning of political community, what binds its members, is the fundamental philosophical question that underlines this proposal. This question must be urgently addressed as it grounds the debates, both scholarly and societal, on issues such as citizenship, identity, security and belonging.