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Interdisciplinary Symposium ‘Religion and urban transformations: perspectives from the global South and beyond’

September 3

This inter­dis­ci­pli­nary sym­po­sium will explore the com­plex and dynam­ic entan­gle­ments of reli­gion with modes of life, mean­ing- and space-mak­ing and com­mu­ni­ty for­ma­tion in con­tem­po­rary cities across the world. With a spe­cif­ic ana­lyt­i­cal focus on glob­al and mega-cities – but also on oth­er met­ro­pol­i­tan areas, more gen­er­al­ly, the sym­po­sium will seek to expli­cate process­es of social trans­for­ma­tion, inter­group inter­ac­tions and urban devel­op­ment through the lens of urban reli­gion as a lived real­i­ty for believ­ers and prac­ti­tion­ers. The­o­ret­i­cal­ly, the sym­po­sium builds upon recent work on urban reli­gios­i­ty which has sought to explain how reli­gious prac­tices and reli­gious insti­tu­tions fea­ture in the every­day lives of urban­ites and con­se­quent­ly, how their reli­gious cre­ativ­i­ty is both enact­ed in and informed by the urban land­scapes (cf. Orsi 1999, Bielo ed. 2013, van der Veer ed. 2015).

Some of the ques­tions that the sym­po­sium par­tic­i­pants will con­sid­er, but not exclu­sive­ly, are:
— What is the dis­tinc­tive con­tri­bu­tion of reli­gion to social trans­for­ma­tion process­es in urban areas?
— How is urban reli­gion expe­ri­enced and enact­ed by believ­ers?
— What reli­gious choic­es do peo­ple make on the rich spir­i­tu­al mar­ket of super-diverse (cf. Ver­tovec 2007) cities?
— What (new) spaces does reli­gion open up in cities – and how are cityscapes trans­formed by this?
— Are urban reli­gious spaces loci of inte­gra­tion and/or con­tes­ta­tion and how does this play out in people’s lived expe­ri­ences?
— What visions and ver­sions of moder­ni­ty do reli­gious prac­ti­tion­ers con­struct for them­selves in the urban envi­ron­ment?
— In what ways is reli­gious knowl­edge con­struct­ed, trans­mit­ted and re-enact­ed in urban set­tings?
— How does reli­gion influ­ence people’s iden­ti­ty con­struc­tions and nego­ti­a­tions with oth­ers, both with­in and out­side their par­tic­u­lar com­mu­ni­ties? etc.

The sym­po­sium will offer schol­ars the oppor­tu­ni­ty to reflect upon their research on the inter­sec­tion between reli­gion, the urban and social life and to con­nect with each oth­er in order to fos­ter future col­lab­o­ra­tions and joint projects. Sub­mis­sions are wel­come from schol­ars from any dis­ci­pline with­in the social sci­ences and human­i­ties who engage in empir­i­cal research, par­tic­u­lar­ly, but not exclu­sive­ly, Social Anthro­pol­o­gy, Soci­ol­o­gy, Area Stud­ies, Devel­op­ment Stud­ies, Reli­gious Stud­ies etc.
Paper pro­pos­als should include a title, an abstract of approx­i­mate­ly 300 words and a brief per­son­al biog­ra­phy of the pre­sen­ter, includ­ing depart­ment and uni­ver­si­ty affil­i­a­tion as rel­e­vant.

Sub­mis­sion dead­line: 1 April 2024

Please email all sub­mis­sions to

Suc­cess­ful appli­cants will be noti­fied in late April. The organ­is­ers will cov­er the accom­mo­da­tion costs of the select­ed par­tic­i­pants and pos­si­bly some of their trav­el costs too.


September 3


Universität Bremen