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Postcolonial Europe and its Animal Other: On Race, Religion and Species

Since the turn of the millennium, the practice of religious slaughter of animals for food consumption has become increasingly politized in Europe, with over ten countries legally intervening in the practice or heavily debating to do so. This politicization occurs against the backdrop of 9/11, the alleged failure of multiculturalism and the problematization of Islam in Europe. The past decades have also witnessed the maturation of animal welfare as a political concern that is represented on local, national and European parliamentarian level. Mariska Jung shows that the academic analysis of the politicization of religious slaughter so far mainly concerns itself with a supposed clash between animal welfare versus religious freedom, or that it showcases the debate as an event that epitomizes the fraught relationship between political secularism and religion in contemporary Europe. As such, academia fails to incorporate an understanding of the dynamics between race, religion and animal ethics that is, arguably, immanent to this debate. Therefore, in her PhD project, Mariska Jung focuses on the conceptual entanglements and questions that the politicization of religious slaughter in Europe engenders. What is the colonial history to the entanglements between the European projects of imperialism, ‘civilization’ and animal ethics? How has the category of the human defined the category of the animal, and to what extend are these categories racialized and founded on Eurocentric notions of religion? Does an inclusion of the conceptual animal into a study of race and religion help to further draw lines of connection and distinction between Islamophobia and anti-Semitism? These and other questions are posed in this research project. Ultimately Mariska Jung aims to carve out the analytic space to think through, what she calls, the animal-race-religion nexus.