Topographies of Faith

Religion in Urban Spaces


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Based on ethnographic explorations in cities across the globe, Topographies of Faith offers a unique and compelling analysis of contemporary religious dynamics in metropolitan centers. While most scholarship on religion still sidelines questions of spatiality and scale, this book creatively draws on perspectives from urban studies to study the spatiality of religion in modern cities. It shows how globalization, transnational migration and urban expansion in big cities engender new religious forms and practices and their spatial underpinnings. Space affects urban religious diversity, religious innovations, decline or vitality. But it also shapes the relationships between religion and social equalities. Spanning distances between New York, Delhi and Johannesburg, the book also engages with issues of secularity and religious vitality in genuinely new ways.

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Irene Becci, Ph.D. (1973), University of Lausanne, is Assistant Professor of New Spiritualities at the Institute for the Social Scientific Study of Contemporary Religion. She has published Imprisoned Religion (Ashgate, 2012) and numerous articles on religion in post-socialist Germany, Italy and in Switzerland.

Marian Burchardt, Ph.D. (1975) is research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen. His work on religious dynamics in Africa and Europe appeared in Sociology of Religion, Comparative Sociology, Oxford Development Studies, and in the Journal of Religion in Europe.

José Casanova Ph.D. (1951) is a professor at the Department of Sociology at Georgetown University, and heads the Berkley Center's Program on Globalization, Religion and the Secular. He has published works in a broad range of subjects, including religion and globalization, migration and religious pluralism, transnational religions, and sociological theory. His best-known work, Public Religions in the Modern World (1994), has become a modern classic in the field.

Contributors include: Irene Becci, Synnøve Bendixsen, Marian Burchardt, José Casanova, Murat Es, Ajay Gandhi, Weishang Huang, Godwin Onuoha, Samadia Sadouni, Peter van der Veer, and Leilah Vevaina.
"Religion has always been a part of city life and urban spaces, and one has always influenced another. What makes Topographies of Faith a valuable and insightful volume is also the underlying question of how this influence can be aimed at community building and integration. The recognition of religious communities as part and parcel of the urban environment may be a key factor in understanding future global cities."
Marta Kołodziejska, University of Warsaw, Religion, 44:4
Scholars with an interest in contemporary religion and graduate and advanced undergraduate students in sociology, anthropology, urban studies religious studies, cultural studies, theology, geography, and area studies.
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