Race and religion were two aspects of the Western colonial project. Novelists Heidi Durrow and Zadie Smith reflect two related but distinct articulations of how to understand this relationship from within the black diaspora and in particular the legacies of “mixed-race” children of the diaspora. This essay argues that each literary exploration of race and place demonstrates the inherent complications of two strategies of negotiating racial and religious identity in contemporary society. While Durrow seeks to extricate her character from both race and religion, seeing religion as simply a cultural marker, Smith wraps her main character inextricably to the historicity of race and religion. Through these interlocutors, this essay examines how black religion might imagine its future in relationship to the particularities of its diaspora(s) and confessions of faith.

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