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Connections, Confusions, Colonialism and the Construction of Religion: Making Sense of Fitzgerald's Discourse on Civility and Barbarity

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image of Method & Theory in the Study of Religion

Timothy Fitzgerald's recent Discourse on Civility and Barbarity, represents an important development in his work. In this book he attempts to introduce a new argument into his overall project, illustrating a connection between the invention of “religion” that he has described elsewhere and a particular (English) colonial discourse. This essay argues that while Fitzgerald's argument shows promise, he has not yet fully succeeded in making this connection explicit. Confusion over his accounts of Locke's colonial interests, as well as the supposed universality of the discourse of civility and barbarity, indicate that Fitzgerald has more work to do.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Religion, Florida State University;, Email:


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