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BSA Socrel Panel Proposal – Religion and the Global City: Space, Scale, and Embodied Subjectivity

Call for papers for panel at the BSA Socrel Annual Conference, Religion and Crisis, 2-4 July 2014, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK


Religion and the Global City: Space, Scale, and Embodied Subjectivity

Organizers: David Garbin and Anna Strhan (University of Kent)

Discussant: Manuel Vasquez (University of Florida)

A growing interest in urban religious life is emerging as part of a broader interest in cities across different disciplines. While cities have played a crucial analytical role in the discipline of sociology, they did not figure prominently in studies of religion, given how the elective affinity between urbanization and secularization fashioned a paradigmatic understanding of modernity. The recent turn to ‘urban religion’ can be understood as part of a broader spatial turn, addressing the materialities, performance and politics of emplaced sacralisation and the issues of representation, identity and power implicated in these. Scholars have increasingly sought to explore distinctively urban forms of religious life as ‘the site of converging and conflicting visions and voices, practices and orientations, which arise out of the complex desires, needs, and fears of many different people who have come to cities by choice or compulsion (or both), and who find themselves intersecting with unexpected others’ (Orsi 1999: 44).

This panel will address different ways in which forms of religious culture and practice are located within, shape, and are shaped by global cities. As transnational labour markets and flows of capital create new forms of global city in which processes of socio-economic polarization are increasingly intensified, how do these process interrelate with everyday religious lives? How are religious and urban imaginings and desires intertwined? How does religion and its engagements with non-religion create particular modes of connection and disconnection, comfort and discomfort in these urban spaces? To what extent have notions of home and locality associated with religious life been reconfigured in the global city milieu?

Please send a 150 word abstract to D.Garbin and A.H.B.Strhan by 28 January 2014

Anna Strhan

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow

Department of Religious Studies, SECL

University of Kent, Canterbury UK, CT2 7NF

Tel: +44(0)1227 823436