So, here is a question that is rarely asked in Religion 101 classes: What type of gloves should you be wearing?

All studies of religion are a study of humans, people and the worlds, cultures, meanings, ideas, and practices they live within. What we choose to wear (perhaps metaphorically) on our hands helps to shape what we do in the study of religion.

Episode notes

So, here is a question that is rarely asked in Religion 101 classes:

What type of gloves should you be wearing?

Please bear with me on this. After giving it some thought, these are the options that seemed most obvious to me:

(Photos for each of these options are above, click the arrows of the slider to look through the 10 pictures)

1. White cotton gloves to allow us to ‘handle with care’

2.   Latex forensic gloves (CSI)

3.   Boxing gloves (e.g., Muhammad Ali)

4.   Long evening gloves (e.g., Audrey Hepburn and/or Dr Frank N Furter of Rocky Horror)

5.   Thermal/winter gloves (for protection)

6.   Dress gloves (rooted in power and history, e.g., colonialism)

7.   Gloves of protest (Tommie Jones and John Carlos at the Mexico Olympics, 1968)

8.   No gloves (Brad Pitt in Fight Club)

9.  A gauntlet, thrown down

Thus, whatever we may wear on our hands, what we do looks at:

  • power, conflict, control, and economic difference
  • gender, genders, sex and sexualities
  • race, ethnicities and the politics of difference
  • the various forms of intersectionality between each of these

Whatever our subject of study may be, and whatever approach we may take, it is always going to be located within the particularities of the history that has created us.

This history and politics is one of postcolonialism, after centuries of European colonialism and empires. Ours (and others’) ideas and knowledge are still largely shaped by those politics.


Useful links

The full text of this podcast episode can be found on the Religion Bites blog on

The title of the discussion is:

Trying to understand religion? It’s a matter of finding the right gloves to wear…

About the Religion Bites Podcast


Religion Bites is a podcast by Malory Nye, an academic and writer based in Perth, Scotland.

The Religion Bites podcast gives you quick and simple intros to the study of religion, to help you think a bit further about the issues of religion and culture in the contemporary world. If we want to understand today’s world, we need to ‘get’ why people are religious – why they ‘do religion’ in the many ways that religion is done. This is not a podcast about being religious, it is about understanding religion and the role that religion has in the contemporary world.