Lisbon, January 18-20, 2023
Session: By Sword and Cross: Christianizing Missions and Global Empire
Second wave colonialism, beginning with the conquest of Algiers in 1830 and the establishment of the British Raj in 1858, has often been depicted in contrast to early modern Iberian imperialism as a largely secular practice, one in which science, industry, reason—and not god —paved the way for colonization. But just as utilitarian tactics were deployed for old and new conquests alike, religious zeal was an equally considerable force in the expansion and consolidation of colonial empires in the 19th and 20th centuries. In fact, sword and cross continued to be waged in unison: religion played direct roles in colonial confrontations—in military advances and armed conflicts—and indirect roles in the formation of a colonial mindset. On the one hand, religious and missionary movements, often aided by military authorities and tacticians, left visible marks on landscapes, helping European and American colonialism redefine the tools, technologies and rhetoric of imperial might. Alongside the construction of colonial military, civic and industrial infrastructure, Christian patrons opened parishes, schools, universities, orphanages, hospitals, farms and factories; they shaped the urban fabric of colonial cities and the territorial environments of hinterlands. At times, they also waged demolition campaigns with the intent to advance the conversion of colonial subjects. On the other hand, and perhaps more fundamentally, Judeo-Christian ideals of redemption were key to justifying the universalizing and civilizing rhetoric so central to the cultural domination of colonized populations. Hence, while the power of religious authorities was transformed or curtailed on European soil in the name of secularization, it was tactically expanded overseas.
This session aims to contribute to these discussions by looking at the role played by religious movements in colonial and postcolonial conflicts and in the formation and destruction of spatial environments from the 19th century onwards. We invite contributions that look at sites of religious colonial activity as well as papers that examine conflicts over secularism in relation to formerly colonized groups as these played out architecturally, questioning its role in the ongoing project of Christian epistemic hegemony—a doctrine aimed at colonizing bodies and minds even in the absence of colonialism on the ground.
Deadline: 2 September 2022
More information is available here
Abstracts are to be submitted online using the link found here