Anthropology and the Riddle of White Supremacy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article considers how anthropology can grapple with white supremacy by conceptualizing it as global and in relation to religion. Drawing on the exchange published as A Rap on Race between anthropologist Margaret Mead and the writer James Baldwin, I address the connection of religion and moral belief to racism, white supremacy, and the critique of racial liberalism. In their conversation, Mead and Baldwin discuss Christianity and white supremacy revealing a complex conjuring of Islam and Muslims that I describe as racecraft. The racialization of religion and the theological components of white supremacy have a particular relevance to the construction of anti-Muslim racism. To describe how ethnography and anthropological theory can intervene, I offer an example of the study of white supremacy and discuss the implications. [racism, religion, white supremacy, Margaret Mead, James Baldwin].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-111
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Anthropologist
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Anthropology and the Riddle of White Supremacy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this