Religion and Senses of Place
Precisely because religion involves bodily and sensual activities, it happens in places. Indeed, religious locations are among the most vibrant, colourful, dramatic and engaging aspects of many cultures. The attraction of pilgrimage destinations as tourism and heritage locations evidences their power. Religiously important places - even the more austere ones - are richly expressive of all that is important to particular communities – at the same time potentially illustrating all that is objectional to others. Single trees, springs, mountains, rivers or other “found places” are selected as the focal points of some religions’ festivals, ceremonies and narratives. Such activities do not leave such places as they were found but shape them as they continue to shape continuing religious developments.
This volume examines sense of place in which people not only perform religious acts in particular places but also understand emplacement / belonging to be key features of their religious practices and identities. Such places include specific local shrines and large territories. Religion and Senses of Place focuses on case studies of religions originating in South Asia and those identifiable as “Indigenous”.
A range of phenomena expressive and educative of senses of place are discussed in this volume. They include the presence and presentation of religion in shrines, museums, homes and other places; pilgrimages, diasporas, exiles, dislocations, border crossings, inter-religious performances and other styles of movement; cosmologies; auspicious and inauspicious locations; topophilia and utopianism; and more. The case studies are not intended solely to present “data” (and do not only address scholarship of South Asian and Indigenous originating religions) but include discussion of methods for studying religious senses of place – as well as religions as senses of place. The contributions in the volume come from scholars with expertise in a range of approaches and methods in order to illustrate the breadth of possibilities for studying religious senses of place.
Published: Oct 1, 2021