Please join us this week, Friday, December 9th at 3 pm. in the Library Instruction Room for final Faculty Colloquium of this semester. (Rescheduled from original date of November 11th.) Treats will be provided.
Alexander Rocklin, Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
Title: Race, Religion, and the Magic of Secularism in Antebellum America
Come meet the Fakir of Ava, the unrivaled magician and necromancer who will perform scientific illustrations showing through practical experiments the impositions of the Pagan Priesthood ancient and modern! Taking as my example the magician the Fakir of Ava, this talk examines the mid-19th century spectacle of stage-magic performances as a mode of popular secularism in the United States. If we understand secularism not simply as an inevitable political project but what John Modern calls a “conceptual environment” that makes the category religion a self-evident way of dividing up the world, this paper examines one mode through which the religious and the not-religious were naturalized for Americans. Taking religion and race as defined together, I will also analyze the ways in which popular secularism created particular racial-religious hierarchies that drew on and connected Americas to broader trends in colonial knowledge production across the globe. Prepare to be Amazed (or at least educated)!
Please feel free to invite students to attend this talk.
We look forward to seeing you there.
Doreen Simonsen and Daniel Rouslin
Faculty Colloquium Coordinators