Anthropology and the Riddle of White Supremacy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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)
JournalAmerican Anthropologist
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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