Book: On the Subject of Religion
Chapter: Response: Tokenism in not Passe
In her paper “International Perspectives on/in the Field” Dr. Rosalind Hackett identifies the end of tokenism as an important commonality of the internationalization of the field. “Tokenism” signifies the only symbolic participation of minority group, and it is clear from Dr. Hackett’s paper, that we have come a long way in working on moving past this, with a blossoming of regional and national organizations worldwide. But does this really mean we have established an equal footing for all actors to cooperate on eye-level, for example the various scholarly organizations that Hackett describes the histories and present of? I will try to argue that Dr. Hackett, in her paper, shows us how far we have come, but still belies a difference deeply established in the field. In an analogy to my research on religion in the field of international development I’ll show several faces of tokenism and the crucial role of method to establish identity and differentiate between white and non-white scholars. How critical method might be reduced to a marker of (Western and “progressive”) identity instead of the vital analytical tool to dismantle structures of power and study religion without being religious.