My research analyses the intersection of race and religion in contemporary secular law and governance. My past and current research explores this conjuncture through the analysis of Afro-Brazilian religious engagements with Brazilian state projects of participatory democracy and multiculturalism, and the impact of the wide-spread adoption of “multicultural legal instruments” on the legal treatment of religious intolerance towards Afro-Brazilian religions in Brazil. Theoretically and methodologically, my research draws on a combination of socio-cultural and linguistic anthropological approaches to political and legal processes.
My Academy Research Fellow project Secularism at the Intersection of Race and Religion: Afro-Brazilian Religions and the Prosecution of Religious Intolerance in 21st Century Brazil (2019-2024) examines how the secular governance of religion though law intersects and co-articulates with the governance of other modalities of difference in early 21st century Brazil. To this end, it mounts an ethnographic investigation of ongoing efforts to prosecute evangelical Christian attacks against Afro-Brazilian religions in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In particular, the study traces the construction and prosecution of such cases across the legal process, from the occurrence of individual incidents to case preparation by Afro-Brazilian activist legal clinics and the public attorney of the state of Rio de Janeiro to trial in Brazilian courts. By subjecting Brazilian articulations of “religious racism” to ethnographic inquiry, the project analyzes and theorizes the intersectional construction of the categories of religion and race in secular law and legal proceedings.
I am also preparing a book manuscript based on my doctoral and postdoctoral research on Afro-Brazilian religious engagements with Brazilian state projects of participatory democracy and multiculturalism. A Politics of Respect: Religion, Morality and the Politics of Racial Inclusion in early 2000’s Brazil, examines efforts by practitioner activists from the Afro-Brazilian religion Candomblé to develop a religiously grounded political project that responds to both religious and state expectations on proper political conduct. The book asks: What happens when religious activists bring religious commitments in dialogue with state expectations for citizens’ political action to construct a religious political movement? What is the character of these dialogues, and what kinds of understandings and forms of religion, politics and religious politics do they produce? In answering these questions, the book moves beyond the focus on secularism that orients much of the extant scholarship on the state regulation of religion to examine how other non-religion-focused state frames of recognition, namely multiculturalism and active citizenship-models of political participation, order and condition political dialogues between religion and state.
In addition, I am involved in a research collaboration with science studies scholar, Academy Research Fellow Venla Oikkonen (Tampere University ) on Everyday Experiences of the Covid-19 Pandemic. We collect written personal experiences of negotiating ethical questions and social expectations in the everyday, anticipating infection, and navigating risk. You can send your texts here.