Relocating to China, Chapter 10 centres on Anxi Chenghuangmiao. The temple’s early history and its 1990 relocation from Anxi city centre to the Fengshan Scenic Tourism Area above the graves of Xie Bian and Fan Wujiu are critically investigated, as are its atypical Tua Di Ya Pek mythologies. Analysed in context of the invention and commoditisation of tradition and of China’s changing cultural policies, Anxi Chenghuangmiao’s reinvention is associated with self-perpetuating its own City God tradition, and to Tua Di Ya Pek’s recent overseas popularisation. Continuing this line of enquiry, the chapter concludes by describing the opening of a new annex in front of Xie Bian and Fan Wujiu’s graves, an annex first conceptualised in Klang, Malaysia, and evaluating the contestation of meaning and counterclaims to provenance of the new ritual site.

in Voices from the Underworld
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Law, race and empire

(B)ordering Britain argues that Britain is the spoils of empire, its immigration law is colonial violence and irregular immigration is anti-colonial resistance. In announcing itself as post-colonial through immigration and nationality laws passed in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, Britain cut itself off symbolically and physically from its colonies and the Commonwealth, taking with it what it had plundered. This imperial vanishing act cast Britain’s colonial history into the shadows. The British Empire, about which Britons know little, can be remembered fondly as a moment of past glory, as a gift once given to the world. Meanwhile immigration laws are justified on the basis that they keep the undeserving hordes out. In fact, immigration laws are acts of colonial seizure and violence. They obstruct the vast majority of racialised people from accessing wealth amassed in the course of colonial conquest. Regardless of what the law, media and political discourse dictate, people with personal, ancestral or geographical links to colonialism, or those existing under the weight of its legacy of race and racism, have every right to come to Britain and take back what is theirs.

Until challenged by evolution, Christians believed on excellent biblical authority that the ‘nations of men’ were God’s creation and that there were no fundamental divisions between them. From this it followed that all the extraordinary cultural diversity exhibited by the peoples of the world as revealed by European explorers disguised an essential unity; despite appearances to the contrary, they were ‘one blood’. This chapter considers the efforts made by missionary linguists to bolster biblical narratives by demonstrating that the languages of the world could be traced to the descendants of the three sons of Noah (Genesis 10). In particular, it examines the work of the Scottish-born schoolmaster Dr John Fraser (1834–1904), who sought to prove the Hamitic origins of the Australian Aborigines and their affinity to the Dravidian peoples of southern India. Fraser’s views were published as part of his 1892 edition of the works of the missionary linguist Lancelot Threlkeld (1788–1859), though modern commentators have found his biblical genealogy for the Australian Aborigines to be distracting, if not bizarre. This chapter demonstrates that Fraser’s worldview fits him firmly within a well-defined intellectual tradition that used language to demonstrate the Judaeo-Christian foundations of the whole world.

in Chosen peoples

Culturally speaking, in the context of Euro-American societies, being related as kin is perceived as a self-evident, given and ‘fixed’ relationship. Reproduction lies at the heart of making such relationships; the birth of a biological child is conceptualized as the beginning of the next generation in a long line of generations going back through time. However, ‘making kin’ might be harder for some than for others. Based on original empirical data (cross-generational interviews), this chapter investigates how kin relationship comes into being in relationships between lesbian daughters and their parents in the context of childbirth through donor insemination. It looks specifically at the role of genes, biology and pregnancy in shaping and making kinship affinities in such family contexts. The chapter highlights that the making of the next generation might, for some, be a precarious and uncertain pursuit, rather than a given, self-evident process.

in Bodily interventions and intimate labour

The purpose of this chapter is to analyse bioprecarity in terms of two dimensions of Foucault’s biopolitics, categorization and subjectivization (Foucault, 1977, 1982, 2002, 2008). With examples of the precarious lives of trans people, especially those of colour, I engage with the conceptual arguments of Foucault, Judith Butler (1997, 2009) and Kimberlé Crenshaw (1991) regarding the relation between categorical framing and bioprecarity. The chapter explores how subjects as bodily selves are bound into population control and therefore normalized and regulated (Spade, 2011), how norms and regulations create bioprecarious situations for these bodily selves (Butler and Athanasiou, 2013), the role of intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1991) in creating such precarious positions and, finally, how such bioprecarity might be avoided (Lorey, 2010; Shotwell, 2016; Weheliye, 2014).

in Bodily interventions and intimate labour
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Bioprecarity in the context of humanitarian surgical missions

Paediatric heart surgery missions define an emergent, high-tech form of medical humanitarianism characterized by their focus not on populations in crisis, but on broken body parts – in this case, damaged paediatric hearts. Comprised of specialists from the world’s most elite medical centres, mission teams make visits to poor countries to perform highly specialized and otherwise prohibitively expensive surgical procedures on children with few alternatives for survival. A team’s success is measured in terms of patient volume, surgical complexity and the probability of the patient being well enough to leave the hospital within thirty days. This chapter explores the forms of bioprecarity that both precede and follow mission visits and that inadvertently affect the very patients whose surgeries are publicly billed as ‘successes’. As much as surgical missions aim to repair paediatric bodies in distress, they, too, produce new anxieties, uncertainties and biological vulnerabilities for patients and their families that are often visible only long after missions depart from the host country. These findings emerged from thirteen months of ethnographic fieldwork carried out in Honduras, where I carried out observations and interviews in public hospitals before, during, and after visits by paediatric heart surgery missions and in the homes of surgical patients.

in Bodily interventions and intimate labour
Understanding bioprecarity

This volume is concerned with the ways in which bioprecarity, here understood as the vulnerabilization of people as embodied selves, is created through regulations and norms that encourage individuals to seek or provide bodily interventions of different kinds. We explore this in particular in relation to intimacy and intimate labour, such as in the making of families and kin and in various forms of care work. Advances in biotechnology, medical tourism and the visibilization of minoritized communities have resulted in unsettling the norms around the gendered body, intimate relations and intimate labour. Bodily interventions have sociocultural meanings and consequences both for those who seek such interventions and for those who provide the intimate labour in conducting them. The purpose of this volume is to explore these. This exploration involves sociocultural questions of boundary work, of privilege, of bodily ownership, of the multiple meanings of want (understood both as desire, for example the desire to have children or to change one’s bodily appearance; and as need – as in economic need – which often prompts people to undertake migration and/or intimate labour). It also raises questions about different kinds of vulnerabilities, for those who engage, and those who engage in, intimate labour. We use the term ‘bioprecarity’ to analyse those vulnerabilities.

Chapter 1 sets out the racial infrastructure of Britain’s immigration law regime, explaining the relationship between colonialism, migration and law. British imperial administrations depended on the exploitation of hierarchies based on supposed differences between categories of people. The use of race as an ordering principle played an important part in enabling and justifying colonialism. I trace the line between the honing of processes of categorisation in the colonial era and immigration law as a practice of racial ordering in modern Britain. I argue that British immigration law is a continuation of colonial power as enacted in the former British Empire. The categorisation of people into those with and without rights of entry and stay sustains and reproduces colonial racial hierarchies. Contemporary immigration law thus maintains the global racial order established by colonialism, whereby racialised populations are disproportionately deprived of access to resources, healthcare, safety and opportunity and are systematically and disproportionately made vulnerable to harm and premature death. In this context recognition and refusal decisions in relation to claims for immigration status in Britain are the everyday work of the colonial state.

in (B)ordering Britain
A study in language politics

This chapter examines the British and Foreign Bible Society’s (BFBS) Arabic Bible translations in the context of European imperial expansion, the global missionary project and emergent Arab nationalism. Unlike the American Bible Society, the BFBS did not produce its own Bible in literary Arabic. They instead published editions in forms of Arabic that were regionally and socially variable and that closely resembled what people spoke. The choice of the BFBS to translate and publish in colloquial Arabic had political implications. By undermining the primacy of literary Arabic during an age of incipient anticolonial Arab nationalism, and by fostering a new and more popular culture of Arabic reading that included men and women from modest social classes, these BFBS editions had the potential to shift extant social hierarchies. The distribution of vernacular Arabic Bibles had the potential to make and remake communities of readers within territories that bore comparison to the colonial borders which Britain and France were imposing during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These colloquial North African Arabic Bibles contributed to a convoluted history that tied together Britain and America; North Africa and western Asia (or ‘the Middle East’); and other parts of the globe.

in Chosen peoples
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The Bible, race and empire in the long nineteenth century

Chosen peoples demonstrates how biblical themes, ideas and metaphors shaped narratives of racial, national and imperial identity in the long nineteenth century. Even and indeed especially amid spreading secularism, the development of professionalised science and the proclamation of ‘modernity’, biblical notions of lineage, descent and inheritance continued to inform understandings of race, nation and character at every level from the popular to the academic. Although new ideas and discoveries were challenging the historicity of the Bible, even markedly secular thinkers chose to explain their complex and radical ideas through biblical analogy. Denizens of the seething industrial cities of America and Europe championed or criticised them as New Jerusalems and Modern Babylons, while modern nation states were contrasted with or likened to Egypt, Greece and Israel. Imperial expansion prompted people to draw scriptural parallels, as European settler movements portrayed ‘new’ territories across the seas as lands of Canaan. Yet such language did not just travel in one direction. If many colonised and conquered peoples resisted the imposition of biblical narratives, they also appropriated biblical tropes to their own ends. These original case studies, by emerging and established scholars, throw new light on familiar areas such as slavery, colonialism and the missionary project, while opening up exciting cross-comparisons between race, identity and the politics of biblical translation and interpretation in South Africa, Egypt, Australia, America and Ireland. The book will be essential reading for academic, graduate and undergraduate readers in empire, race and global religion in the long nineteenth century.