FIVE WORDS FOR “GOD”
… on the dangers that lie in giving a thing a name that belongs to something else.
A list of words translated by 16th–19th century Christian missionaries as “GOD,” from Tamil, Japanese, and Algonquian, to /Xam. On how (mis)translations of religious concepts became not only a tool of conversion, but a means of justifying colonial conquest, racial subjugation, & violence.
Essay commissioned for The Serving Library Annual 2018/19. Edited by Vincenzo Latronico, Francesca Bertolotti-Bailey, Stuart Bertolotti-Bailey, and David Reinfurt and published by Roma Publications in conjunction with the Liverpool Biennial 2018.