Dec. 22, 2021


In this episode of It’s Useful to Know, Dr. Judith Weisenfeld talks about how the term “cult” describes power relations in a given social context – the ability to define religious insiders, to construct dangerous outsiders, and enforce social norms – that has often been racialized in U.S. history. Instead, in her own work, she uses the term “religio-racial” to describe movements in the early 20th century such as Father Divine’s Peace Mission and the Nation of Islam, which she explores in her award-winning book New World A-Coming: Black Religion and Racial Identity during the Great Migration (2017).