The Dangers of Racial Dehumanization (New Project)

In order to understand how racism operates in Europe today, scholars must address three specific challenges: the persistent idea that 1) racism ended with Nazism, 2) racism is a uniquely American problem, and 3) racism is purely about skin-colour. To address these challenges, this research project analyses entanglements between race and religion specific to Europe’s histories, geographies and institutions. Contrary to commonly held understandings, race and religion are entwined concepts in Europe. Race is more than a biological category, and religion more than a personal choice. Their entanglement has deep roots in the past which continues to affect the present as evidenced by antisemitism, antigypsyism [anti-‘Gypsy’ racism], and Islamophobia. This research project aims to establish a European Critical Philosophy of Race that investigates this specifically European context. The central question is: how can a focus on the entanglement of race and religion explain the logic operative in European racisms?

The hypothesis of this project is: racial dehumanisation is the operative logic. Dehumanisation organises the political community along a hierarchical scale ranging from full humanity, othering, to sub and non-human. Based on historically established markers of difference particular peoples are perceived as lesser/non-human. These markers of difference, such as ‘religion’ and phenotype, are temporally and geographically specific. This dehumanising perception when combined with institutionalised power potentially justifies the marginalisation and/or exclusion of particular peoples from the political community. If funded, I hope to investigate and conceptually outline the logic of racial dehumanization arising from different temporal and spatial entanglements of race and religion in Europe. This logic is also materially evident in Europe today in relation to economics and education.