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Masterclass ‘Thinking Race and Religion’ with prof. dr. Anya Topolski

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In this Masterclass prof. dr. Anya Topolski briefly introduces the central tenets of her current research project. Topolski theorizes  the ‘race-religion constellation’ which refers to the historical “practice of classifying people into races according to categories we now associate with the term religion” (Topolski, 2018, p.58). Consequently, she argues for the necessity to study the intersections between the ‘religion line’ and ‘colour line’ so as to be able to grasp contemporary racism in Europe. Following this brief introduction, a collective conversation with prof. dr. Topolski and the attendants of the masterclass takes place.


During the Masterclass the work of four researchers will be discussed. These four are required to submit a 7-page text by March 1. This text is presented by another attendee in five minutes, which allows the researcher to discover how other people read and understand their work. The author has subsequently two minutes to clarify some elements if need be. Thereafter there is ample time to collectively and constructively discuss the work of the author. Those attendees who do not write nor present are required to read all the submitted texts in preparation of the Masterclass, as will prof. dr. Anya Topolski. With this highly interactive format the Masterclass should be an educational and stimulating experience for all attendees.



Academics (PhD candidates, post-doctoral researchers, teaching staff), activists and artists working on topics related to race, racism, religion, secularism or intersectionality are warmly invited to join this Masterclass. Participants are asked to familiarize themselves with the work prof. dr. Anya Topolski by reading one of her text (to be send following registration). PhD candidates are entitled to 1 credit in their doctoral training program.



Anticipating the endurance of the pandemic this Masterclass is likely to take place online. However, if weather permits, we may choose to organize the Masterclass in person, outside on campus.  Therefore we ask all interested attendees to be sure they could come to the VUB Etterbeek campus in Brussels on the day of the event.



Attendance is free but registration is required. Please register here. 



Please get in touch with Dounia Bourabain ( or Mariska Jung (



Prof. dr. Anya Topolski is an associate professor in Ethics and Political Philosophy at the Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands.  She obtained her PhD in Philosophy at KU Leuven (2008), with a focus on the political thought of Hannah Arendt and the ethics of Emmanuel Levinas and contemporary Jewish thought, for which she was awarded the Auschwitz Foundation Prize. Her current NWO sponsored research project on the Race-Religion Constellation brings the academic exploration on the intersections of race and religion to the European continent. Topolski is, in addition to her academic work, the co-founder and coordinator of the association Another Jewish Voice (Een Andere Joodse Stem) in Belgium. She is also a columnist for the Flemish MO* Magazine.


Some of her recent published articles are: ‘The dangerous discourse of the ‘Judeo-Christian’ myth: masking the race–religion constellation in Europe’ in Patterns of Prejudice (2020), ‘The Race-Religion Intersection: A European Contribution to the Critical Philosophy of Race’ in Critical Philosophy of Race (2018) and ‘Good Jew, Bad Jew: ‘Managing’ Europe’s Others’ in Ethnic and Racial Studies (2017). She also is the co-author of the book ‘Is there a Judeo-Christian Tradition? A European Perspective’ (2016).


This Masterclass is co-organized by the Race and Research Network, RHEA, EDGE, BIRMM

Masterclass with Anya Topolski