Non-sacred Spaces for Religious Practices and Spirituality

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 January 2023) | Viewed by 11568

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
School of Architecture, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK
Interests: spatialized post-secular thought; non-dialectic modes of thinking; radical contextualization; radical inclusivity; religion-related behaviours in space; decolonization of urban and architectural discourses
Huckabee College of Architecture, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79410, USA
Interests: architectural humanities; architectural education; urban history; critical urban studies
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Guest Editor
Philosophische Fakultät, Universität Erfurt, 99089 Erfurt, Germany
Interests: history of esotericism; the history and philosophy of science; sacred space and architecture; modern German philosophy; science and technology studies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Religions aims to re-think and re-contextualise the notion of sacred space, questioning both phenomenological (Eliade) and constructivist (Knott) approaches. With this in mind, this issue hopes to study, analyse and map different intellectual and religious perspectives concerning the spatiality of religious practice and the notion of the sacred space itself.

Furthermore, this Special Issue intends to provide a dialectical space to foster intellectual exchange and cross-fertilisation among architecture, the built environment and religious studies. Our focus will shift attention to less-known and marginalized religious traditions utilizing the insights of spatial and religious studies and drawing on the extensive academic literature of religious studies, cultural geography, urban anthropology, architecture and urban sociology, as well as that of the broader humanities, including the social and political sciences.

The goal of the Special Issue is to resituate the now largely discarded historiographical concept of sacred space within the context of an apparently secular, rationalized, pluralistic and globalized modern world and to ask “How does this concept—or does it—remain generative and how has it been reimagined, repurposed, and reinscribed with new and surprising meanings in order to fit the changing historical situation?” To achieve this, our focus is intentionally interdisciplinary, bringing together different discourses and specialists to go beyond traditional academic disciplinary aggregations. Such an approach was devised with the intent of evolving our understanding of the concept of sacred space outside of phenomenological and constructivist lenses, in hopes of germinating fresh interpretations on the type of space that is and has been referred to as “sacred” in the present and past.

The issue will supplement the already existing reorientation in religious studies that has been ongoing for the last three decades, namely, material and spatial turns, which seek to interpret religious phenomena outside the traditional categories of dogma, belief and ritual practice, focusing instead on configurations of space and relations, how religions ideas are lived out in a concrete way and how they are instantiated materially and socially.  As an interdisciplinary issue, we hope this collection of research will also contribute to building bridges between academic disciplines, will the aim of reinvigorating dialogue between religious studies and built-environment-related disciplines.

Dr. Krzysztof Nawratek
Dr. Asma Mehan
Dr. Aaron French
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • sacred space
  • religious studies
  • spatial reflections
  • modernity
  • post secularism

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

12 pages, 227 KiB  
Article
‘Not-All-There’ in the Necropolis: Afterlife and Madness in Urban Novels
by Marija Spirkovska
Religions 2023, 14(6), 803; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14060803 - 19 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1099
Abstract
The paper takes its departure point from a seemingly innocuous idiom that common English parlance uses to describe a person who has lost possession of their rational mind: “not all there.” Interrogating the locality that this deictic “there” implies, the argument juxtaposes it [...] Read more.
The paper takes its departure point from a seemingly innocuous idiom that common English parlance uses to describe a person who has lost possession of their rational mind: “not all there.” Interrogating the locality that this deictic “there” implies, the argument juxtaposes it with recent religious scholarship on the Afterlife, which posits that, by extension, from the absence of the risen Christ from the tomb, the Christian subject is essentially similarly ‘not there’. Thus, the paper treads a thin line between sacredness and profanity in attempting to map out the spatial coordinates and configuration of the imaginary realms of the life-less and mind-less, that is, the Afterlife and madness, respectively. This examination is conducted through late 20th-century literary representations of, on the one hand, the Afterlife as an urban netherworld, experienced as infernal and life-negating, and of the city perceived through a schizophrenic mind, which displays an uncanny similarity to Hell: disorienting, dissipating, and ghostly. In this manner, following recent scholarship of embodied cognition, the paper demonstrates an unexpected and hitherto unexplored affinity between the Afterlife as a key concept of conventional religious thought and madness and the mad subject as an oft-reviled cultural, social, and literary figure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-sacred Spaces for Religious Practices and Spirituality)
15 pages, 276 KiB  
Article
The Religion of Consumer Capitalism and the Construction of Corporate Sacred Spaces
by Allison P. Coudert
Religions 2023, 14(6), 750; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14060750 - 6 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1858
Abstract
If one looks at the United States over the past sixty years, it becomes clear that religious and spiritual practices have proliferated in unexpected places and spaces. They have become thoroughly ensconced in the boardrooms, offices, shop floors, and retail spaces of business [...] Read more.
If one looks at the United States over the past sixty years, it becomes clear that religious and spiritual practices have proliferated in unexpected places and spaces. They have become thoroughly ensconced in the boardrooms, offices, shop floors, and retail spaces of business establishments. From there, they have seeped into just about every imaginable area of American life, turning schools, parks, shopping malls, sports stadiums, hospitals, gyms, health food restaurants, spas, and the very apps on our computers and cell phones into corporate spaces promising new and enticing forms of spiritual enchantment. The purpose of this essay is to document the way new forms of spirituality have become part of a much longer history of the entanglement of business and religion, a history that began in monasteries, formed the bedrock of the Puritan work ethic, and is now an established aspect of the neoliberal ideal of the privatization and corporatization of all aspects of human life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-sacred Spaces for Religious Practices and Spirituality)
15 pages, 2120 KiB  
Article
Spatial Reflections on Muslims’ Segregation in Britain
by Farouq Tahar, Asma Mehan and Krzysztof Nawratek
Religions 2023, 14(3), 349; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030349 - 6 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1995
Abstract
The diversity of multicultural, multi-religious, and multi-ethnic groups and communities within Britain has created cohesion and integration challenges for different community groups and authorities to adapt to the current diverse society. More recently, there has been an increased focus on Muslim segregation in [...] Read more.
The diversity of multicultural, multi-religious, and multi-ethnic groups and communities within Britain has created cohesion and integration challenges for different community groups and authorities to adapt to the current diverse society. More recently, there has been an increased focus on Muslim segregation in Britain in official reports and reviews. Those documents mentioned the Muslims’ segregation (directly or indirectly) for various reasons, and some recommendations have aimed to improve “community cohesion” in general and Muslims’ “integration” in particular. However, community participation in the design or planning of regeneration and development projects has yet to be focused on, although these documents recommended promoting community cohesion and integration through these projects. Community participation in architecture—in its broader sense—is a crucial aspect that contributes towards fulfilling the tasks of serving communities with different religious and ethnic backgrounds. Muslims’ religious and cultural practices have been problematised in urban spaces and perceived as leading to social and spatial segregation. This paper intends to explore how secular urban spaces are used and perceived by Muslims through their religious and cultural practices. Therefore, the article aspires to inform the community participation in urban projects and demonstrates the role that Muslims’ inclusion in designing urban projects has in promoting cohesion and integration. The Ellesmere Green project in Burngreave, Sheffield, UK, is an empirical example of exploring this locally through semi-structured interviews with community members, leaders, and local authorities’ officials. The findings demonstrate that sacred and secular spaces are interconnected in Muslims’ everyday lives, and the boundaries between them are blurry. The data also show that having the ability to manifest their religious and cultural practices in secular urban spaces does not suggest the desire for segregation, nor does it reduce Muslims’ willingness to have social and spatial interactions with non-Muslims. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-sacred Spaces for Religious Practices and Spirituality)
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12 pages, 419 KiB  
Article
Classrooms as Sacred Space: Structures for Holistic Teaching and Learning Practices in Higher Education
by Joaquin Muñoz
Religions 2023, 14(2), 190; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020190 - 31 Jan 2023
Viewed by 2252
Abstract
This article explores the notion of the classroom as a sacred space, through the lenses of Indigeneity and Waldorf-inspired practices to examine the ways pedagogical practices create spaces for learning and holistic well-being. Using a series of qualitative ethnographic studies highlighting courses at [...] Read more.
This article explores the notion of the classroom as a sacred space, through the lenses of Indigeneity and Waldorf-inspired practices to examine the ways pedagogical practices create spaces for learning and holistic well-being. Using a series of qualitative ethnographic studies highlighting courses at higher education institutions in Arizona and Minnesota, this article examines student reflections on experiences within the courses and curricula. Student responses point to conceptions of the course “rituals” that fostered emotional and mental wellness and contrasted these to courses in the “real world” that did the opposite. The article concludes with reflections on structures within the classroom and implications for teaching and learning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-sacred Spaces for Religious Practices and Spirituality)
16 pages, 5483 KiB  
Article
From Secular Spaces to Religious Places: The Case of the Romanian Orthodox Place of Worship of Lunghezza (Rome, Italy)
by Ioan Cozma, Angelica Federici, Maria Chiara Giorda and Silvia Omenetto
Religions 2023, 14(1), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14010100 - 11 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1431
Abstract
The purpose of this article is to study the Romanian Orthodox place of worship of Lunghezza in Rome, utilizing the expression ‘shared religious place’ and thus referring to the shift from secular to religious and asserting that it is now a camouflaged religious [...] Read more.
The purpose of this article is to study the Romanian Orthodox place of worship of Lunghezza in Rome, utilizing the expression ‘shared religious place’ and thus referring to the shift from secular to religious and asserting that it is now a camouflaged religious place. Using GIS mapping and Digital Humanities methods and tools, the paper analyses the geographical presence of Orthodox Romanians in the Metropolitan City of Rome territory and the architectural typologies of their places of worship. The history and geography of the church in Lunghezza, a former stable converted into a house of worship, reveals the form of the resilience of the Romanian Orthodox parishes, forced to find various and compelling solutions in order to survive as places of worship. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-sacred Spaces for Religious Practices and Spirituality)
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