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Empire of ReligionImperialism and Comparative Religion$
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David Chidester

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226117263

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226117577.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 20 May 2022

Expanding Empire

Expanding Empire

(p.1) Chapter One Expanding Empire
Empire of Religion

David Chidester

University of Chicago Press

As an introduction to a history of comparative religion, this chapter identifies the material mediations—imperial, colonial, and indigenous—that produced, authenticated, and circulated knowledge about religion and religions. Highlighting the importance of indigenous African religion, especially Zulu and Thonga religion, in the emergence of imperial comparative religion between the 1870s and the 1920s, this chapter situates the history of the study of religion in the imperial, colonial, and indigenous exchanges within one zone of interaction, South Africa. Reviewing selected literature on the history of the study of religion and religions, the chapter shows how the discourse has moved from discovery, through invention, to intercultural mediations of knowledge about religion and religions.

Keywords:   African religion, colonialism, comparative religion, imperialism, indigenous religion, South Africa

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