Dr. Aisha Beliso de Jesus will give a public lecture, "Religion in the Closet: Heterosecularisms and Police Practitioners of African Diaspora Religions" on Thursday February 27 at 4:30pm in the Swift Common Room as part of our year-long initiative on Diversity and Inclusion in the academic study of religion.
ABSTRACT: Drawing on ethnographic research with police officers and religious practitioners of African Diaspora religions in the United States, I examine how racialized religions are constructed as evil subjects of state criminality . In interviews with “police-practitioners” or those officers who secretly practice African diaspora religions, they described their religions as “in the closet.” I examine the erotics of religion in the closet as an example of a broader form of sexualized containment in everyday policing. I suggest that the policing of racialized religions in the United States joins emic police conceptions of “Judeo-Christian” crusade logics, white supremacy, anti-blackness, and heteronormativity. In this process I argue that racialized religions are simultaneously queered and criminalized. This confluence between heteronormativity in the toxic masculinity of policing and Judeo-Christian secularisms is what I am calling here, hetero-secularisms.
Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús is Professor of American Studies at Princeton University. A cultural and social anthropologist, Dr. Beliso-De Jesús has conducted ethnographic research with Santería practitioners in Cuba and the United States, and police officers and communities of color affected by police violence in the United States. Her research and teaching span the United States, Caribbean, Latin America, Africana, and Afro-Latinx communities. Beliso-De Jesús’ work contributes to cultural and media studies, anthropology of religion, critical race studies, Black and Latinx transnational feminist and queer theory, African diaspora religious studies, and studies on policing and militarization.
Her first book, Electric Santería: Racial and Sexual Assemblages of Transnational Religion (Columbia University Press, 2015), won the 2016 Albert J. Raboteau Award for the Best Book in Africana Religions. It details the transnational experience of Santería in which racialized and gendered spirits, deities, priests, and religious travelers remake local, national, and political boundaries and actively reconfigure notions of technology and transnationalism. She is completing a book, Zombie Patrol: Policing African Diaspora Religions which examines the criminalization and racialization of religions of Black and Latinx in the U.S. Beliso-De Jesús has also launched a team-based ethnographic research project on police use of force in New Orleans, funded by the National Science Foundation.
Date: February 27, 2020
Time: 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
David Harris, PhD student in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, will present for the Hebrew Bible Workshop, time and location to be decided. For information, contact the workshop coordinator, Justin Moses, at email@example.com.
Date: February 28, 2020
Time: 12:00 AM - 1:30 AM
David Harris, PhD student in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, will present for the Hebrew Bible Workshop. For information, contact the workshop coordinator, Justin Moses, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Date: February 28, 2020
Time: 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM