The idea of tradition has become in many ways a religious vision that reaches beyond its origin in Christian thought to now exist as a way to narrate identity quests, frame one’s spirituality, and especially situate the intellectual life. It has become a theology itself that reflects the spatial dimensions of subjectivity and in particular a powerful example of the spatial register through which white masculine subjectivity might be performed. Yet this new theological deployment of tradition needs to be read inside a wider historical frame of modern racial masculine longing. This essay articulates that frame.

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