When the Coca-Cola Company bankrolled a new National Center for Civil and Human Rights (NCCHR), it was reviving a century-long reformation: the project to produce cosmopolitan consumer citizenship as normative humanity and to incarnate global markets as beloved community. This essay places such corporate pedagogies of the postracial human within a longer history of Christian mission. It is written as a proof for why cultural critics’ locutions of religion and the secular require greater precision, especially as they interpret regimes of race within contemporary capitalism. Neoliberal multiculturalism is made through its dynamic religious elements; the Christian secular is a primary technology for revising and reproducing race. The NCCHR is a staging ground for the religious history of racial capitalism, incarnate not only in the parochial past it attempts to vanquish but also in the cosmopolitan future it seeks to install.
Buying into the Dream: The Religion of Racial Capitalism in Coca-Cola’s World
Lucia Hulsether is a doctoral candidate in religious studies and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Yale University. Her current project, “The Cultural Politics of Capitalist Humanitarianism,” considers the relationship between post-1945 liberal development and the rise of financial order in the Americas.
Lucia Hulsether; Buying into the Dream: The Religion of Racial Capitalism in Coca-Cola’s World. Public Culture 1 September 2018; 30 (3): 483–508. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/08992363-6912151
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