Cover: Stealing My Religion: Not Just Any Cultural Appropriation, from Harvard University PressCover: Stealing My Religion in HARDCOVER

Stealing My Religion

Not Just Any Cultural Appropriation

Product Details


$27.95 • £24.95 • €25.95

ISBN 9780674987036

Publication Date: 09/13/2022


272 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

7 photos


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Lively in style and backed by solid, unobtrusive scholarship… In her call for responsibility in borrowing, Liz Bucar singles out for criticism forms of exploitation close to her own identity as privileged and religiously unaffiliated.—Jonathan Benthall, Times Literary Supplement

So finely written, so intelligent and fair, and laced with such surprising discoveries that it deserves a reader’s full attention… As the act of walking a religious pilgrimage does invite greater self-awareness…Stealing My Religion is now an essential part of that worthy endeavor.—Kurt Caswell, Los Angeles Review of Books

Injects new life into what has become a stale discourse on the concept of ‘cultural appropriation.’ Bringing together three disparate case studies, Bucar brilliantly demonstrates how definitions of religion fuse with practices of capitalism and ownership… Stealing My Religion accomplishes what it sets out to do and then some.—Rumya S. Putcha, The Revealer

Stealing My Religion not only deftly grapples with fascinating case studies to name and center the ethical challenges of religious appropriation, but also models how to use this knowledge to reassess our relationship to practices of religious appropriation that we all collude with in various ways. The book also invites us to pause to (re)assess our participation in these complicated spheres of praxis—as educators and scholars, or just everyday folks—and ultimately our responsibilities to the communities we have harmed along the way.—Shobhana Xavier, Reading Religion

At a time when discussions about cultural appropriation too often feel overheated and imprecise, Liz Bucar points to a way forward by asking us to consider the stolen stuff of faith—religious ideas, practices, and objects repurposed by those outside the fold. But who owns religion? Who is outside and inside the fold? Bucar’s sharp insights, shot through with humor and self-awareness, are exactly what we need the next time we reach over to borrow from someone else’s religion for our own therapeutic, political, or educational needs.—Gene Demby, cohost and correspondent for NPR’s Code Switch

Using hijab to sell soda, the Buddha to market vegan food, or crucifixes to make pop music pop can feel edgy or celebratory for those embracing the visuals without the credos behind them. But, as Liz Bucar reveals in this thoughtful work, the faithful may not appreciate seeing their heart on your sleeve. A welcome and necessary reminder that all of us, ultimately, are unreliable narrators when we weave ourselves into others’ stories.—Jeff Yang, coauthor of Rise: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now and cohost of They Call Us Bruce

With interpretive subtlety and ethical vision, Liz Bucar explores the moral risk of intercultural theft. Stealing My Religion is a powerful intervention by a leading scholar of religion into the illiberal results of everyday religious exploitation. Highly recommended.—Kathryn Lofton, author of Consuming Religion

A sharp and courageous book that claims religion can also be culturally appropriated. With provocative and timely examples, Liz Bucar challenges our understandings about race, culture, and religion when we think about appropriation.—Tahseen Shams, author of Here, There, and Elsewhere: The Making of Immigrant Identities in a Globalized World

When do religious borrowings cause harm? When do they function as meaningful exchanges? In this brilliant study, Liz Bucar skillfully wrestles with these difficult questions and brings race, religion, and commodification into conversation.—Shenila Khoja-Moolji, author of Sovereign Attachments: Masculinity, Muslimness, and Affective Politics in Pakistan

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