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Title: Black Muslims in the Colombian Pacific: Race, Religion, and Regimes of Citizenship
Authors: Siwaju, Fatima
Advisors: RouseBeliso-De Jesús, CarolynAisha
Contributors: Anthropology Department
Keywords: Afro-Latin America
Subjects: African American studies
Latin American studies
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation focuses on two predominantly Black Shiʿi Muslim communities in the Valle del Cauca department in southwestern Colombia. The first community is located in the Pacific port city of Buenaventura, while the second is based in thedepartmental capital of Cali. In both communities, the founding members are double or in some cases triple converts, who previously adhered to the Nation of Islam and Sunni Islam before becoming Shiʿi Muslims. Based on fifteen months of ethnographic fieldwork, this dissertation explores modes of citizenship that are engendered through the religious histories, contemporary socialities, political solidarities, and spiritual practices of Black Shiʿi Muslims in the Colombian Pacific. I argue that my ethnographic collaborators enact religio-racial and theopolitical regimes of citizenship that run counter to the discursive and affective logics of the nation state. The religio-racial mode of citizenship arises from the community’s first wave of conversions to the Nation of Islam beginning in the late 1950s and is rooted in a diasporically-oriented Black consciousness and an attachment to Islamic ideals that allow for collective racial empowerment. Theopolitical citizenship emerges through their subsequent conversion to Shiʿi Islam and is characterized by the prioritization of religious fellowship over ethno-racial or national affiliations, in addition to a commitment to a Shiʿi messianic vision of Islamic government. This dissertation therefore examines the mechanisms through which Black Shiʿi Muslims articulate their own politics of belonging within the multicultural Colombian landscape. Black Muslims in the Colombian Pacific: Race, Religion, and Regimes of Citizenship opens new avenues of inquiry within the anthropology of religion and the African diaspora by probing the nexus of religion, race, and citizenship. Taking into account the historically unsettled positionalities of Black peoples in citizenship and nation building projects in the Americas, I analyze the ways in which religion functions as a critical site from which to assert Black humanity and redemptive political futures. Additionally, this dissertation contributes to a growing field of research on Black Islam in the Americas by inviting us to consider ‘Blackness’ and ‘Muslimness’ as ontological and epistemological paradigms that unsettle Eurocentric frameworks of citizenship in the Americas.
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Anthropology

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