Fellow von Oktober 2016 bis September 2017
Christopher Driscoll, PhD (Rice University, 2014) is visiting assistant professor of religion and Africana studies at Lehigh University. Some of his research interests include race/whiteness studies, religion, identity, culture, and humanist and existential thought, with growing interests in technological innovation and mountain climbing culture. Much of his work tacks along the boundaries historically dividing interpretive/hermeneutical and social/critical approaches to the study of religion and human social behavior. His first monograph, White Lies: Race and Uncertainty in the Twilight of American Religion (Routledge 2015), outlines what it has meant to be a white American historically, and what a white identity might mean moving forward. His current research project is titled “Diasporic Whiteness,” and charts the “movements” of racialized normativity during the 19th and 20th centuries across parts of Europe. He is cofounder of the American Academy of Religion’s Critical Approaches to Hip Hop and Religion Group; contributing editor for The Marginalia Review of Books, and contributor to The Huffington Post, TheHumanist.com, and other publications. Find him online at shadesofwhite.org.
Projekt am fiph
Driscoll’s current research attends to the proliferation/excess of global whiteness, that which is referred to as “diasporic whiteness,” a largely unacknowledged mode of life orientation framed around particular modes of racialized normativity. The project turns to theories of secularization/demystification to situate the proliferation of difference in Europe and the Americas as a divestment of traditional centralized forms of power, where whiteness functions to increase reliance on marginalization of those at social peripheries in order to guard against such losses of power. Building from the efforts of his first book White Lies, which limits analyses to the U.S. as to maintain focus on American whiteness, Driscoll’s current research is an effort to move beyond cultural, geographic, and social specificity by comparing American and European conceptions of whiteness and critical whiteness discourses with discourses surrounding German-Jewish symbiosis and contemporary questions of German nationalism. Driscoll’s interdisciplinary and comparative project will turn to early/mid-century thinkers like Martin Heidegger, Carl Schmitt, Walter Benjamin, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Theodore Adorno, Albert Camus, and others, in order to determine points of connection and distinction between various U.S. and European “white” communities and their ideological commitments and shifts as expressed in both philosophical and theological texts, and socially. Specific questions explored include: (1) What factors contribute to the social/political/ cultural reality and consequences of historic and contemporary anxieties among Europeans and those of European descent? (2) What analytic tools are possible for assessment of “whiteness” as both ideal-type and as social fact? (3) How do whiteness and/or social normativity “travel” and intersect with additional categories of social difference and identification (gender, sexuality, class, nation, etc.) in and among both dominant and marginalized groups? And (5) how do white identity and other forms of normativity simultaneously procure social capital and yet deny this function? This work will culminate in a monograph of interest to many on both sides of the Atlantic, particularly for scholars and policy-makers facing increasing numbers of religious and ethnic minorities and subsequent increasing nationalistic and authoritarian populist responses.