Sacred stuff: Material Culture and the Geography of Religion
Session sponsored by the Social and Cultural Geography Study Group of the RGS-IBG.
This session seeks discussion around the role of material culture in studying geographies of religion, faith and spirituality. Social and cultural geographers have offered critical insight into the use of material cultures, such as the processes of making and repairing material things, as a way of understanding geographical processes, networks and knowledges (Cook & Harrison, 2007; Gregson et al, 2007; Ogborne, 2007). In geographies of religion a material approach has been creatively developed to discuss buildings (Connelly, 2015 and Edensor, 2011) but also to understand the role of objects and places in shaping spiritual engagements (Holloway, 2003; Della Dora 2011; Hill 2007).
This session seeks to extend the critical insights of this work to understand how the material things made, used and appropriated in religious communities (and beyond them) can provide insights into everyday practices, congregational translations of religious practices and experiences of the spiritual, social and cultural aspects of religious communities.
The theme for the 2016 Annual Conference is nexus thinking, an approach that has attracted a surge of interest in the last five years among academics, policy-makers and third sector organizations. The aim of nexus thinking is to address the interdependencies, tensions and trade-offs between different environmental and social domains – an approach to which geographers might feel an inherent attraction. The 2016 annual conference offers an opportunity to take these ideas forward both in the specific context of research on water, energy and food security but also, more widely, by demonstrating the power of geographical thinking to work across disciplinary boundaries, to think relationally and to make connections across time and space. The conference encourages debate about these issues, including what nexus thinking might add to existing approaches and what its potential might be as a metaphor or method.
Drawing on concepts of materiality developed within anthropology and design history (Miller, 2010; Ingold, 2012; Lees-Maffei et al, 2010), we are interested in exploring in this session how material things offer alternative narratives about religious communities and what religion means to its adherents; how material objects are designed, created, appropriated or travel; what affects the decay, damage and necessary repair and maintenance of religious things have on religious engagements and experiences; what role material things play, and have played, in both the contemporary geographies and past histories of religious institutions and spaces.
Please submit abstracts to Ruth Slatter (email@example.com) by 8th February 2016. Abstracts should be now more than 200 words and include your contact details.
Deadlines and submission process
The deadline for submission to the conference programme (organised sessions, papers or posters) is Friday 19 February 2016. All submissions should be received by this date.
Prospective sessions organisers and delegates may also find the following information helpful when preparing their submission:
- Find out more about the conference timeline and key deadlines
- Read the guidelines for participation
- Find out how to organise a session
- Find out how to propose a paper or poster
- View a list of Calls for Papers being advertised by Research Groups and other session organisers
Advertise your Call for Papers on the conference website - send a copy to AC2016@rgs.org
Before submitting a proposal for the conference, you are especially asked to note the following guidelines for participation: