According to historian Kathryn Gin Lum, Americans have long viewed the world as a realm of suffering heathens whose lands and lives needed their intervention to flourish. The term "heathen" fell out of common use by the early 1900s, but the ideas underlying the figure of the heathen did not disappear. Americans still treat large swaths of the world as 'other' due to their assumed need for conversion to American ways. Lum is the author of Heathen: Religion and Race in American History and she is our guest in this episode.
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