The Religious Pursuit of Race: Christian Thought and the Development of Modern Racial Science

Terence D. Keel
Black Studies and History
UC Santa Barbara

The proposed book project examines the relationship between Christian theology and modern scientific ideas about race from the time of the Enlightenment to present-day genetic research. With this long view of history this project aims to recover the overlooked yet persistent links between Christian natural philosophy and modern racial science. This study challenges the prevailing idea that the development of modern science ushered in studies of human difference that were consistently secular and freed of all traces of Christian thought. The grantee looks to argue in this book project, however, that theological assumptions about nature and human difference were carried over into modern racial science, facilitating its proliferation as a new authority on the question of human origins, yet remaining indebted to Christian discourse.