Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 June 2022
This essay probes secularism’s normative sociality and its cracks or fault lines, the everyday ways of being that defy its logics. In the early to mid-nineteenth century, white Protestantism became infused into the US public – not as a religion, per se, but as a set of deeply felt social formations, moral norms, and practices of the self. While a secularized Protestantism made the world feel right for some, though, it created exclusions that made it feel wrong for others – made others feel, in fact, like they were wrong in it. This essay attends to secularism’s fissures as a means of confronting nineteenth-century Black and indigenous people’s experiences of the everyday world, carved out of landscapes rife with racial and religious prejudices and violence.
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