CAR talk: ethnic and religious identity in the Central African Republic
Wieczorek, Evan M.
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This thesis examines the prioritization of religious identity among Central Africans in the wake of the 2013 Séléka crisis. Before the Séléka came to power, ethnicity was the identity that had the most political salience in the Central African Republic. During the crisis, religious identity was prioritized over all others. This thesis researched a number of possible causes of this identity shift, from the agendas of domestic and foreign politics to mass-level tensions and demographic changes. This thesis argues that the prioritization of religious identity over ethnic identity among Central Africans is an example of an elite-driven identity change. After being driven from power, southern political elites mobilized Christianity in response to the Séléka takeover because it was an identity the majority of southern Central Africa could rally behind.
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