Research Cloud 11 Religious Landscapes and Environmental Devotion

This interdisciplinary cloud draws on history, anthropology, religion, and other disciplines in order to examine the multifaceted interdependence between material environments and cultural and social landscapes on the one hand, and practices of devotion and religiosity on the other hand.

Landscapes are often seen as composed of layers, as topography and geology come together with archaeology and lived experience, culture and nature, emotion and affect. Landscapes often seem to hide more than they reveal, and they are always changing and thereby challenge our devotion to them and the faith we weave into them: From contested sacred spaces and renovated ruinations of ancient temples, through community-based resource management replacing state and capitalist exploitation, to the emergence of new geological layers of plastic and PVC.

We will examine questions such as how religion shapes landscapes—urban, rural, “natural”—not (only) in the physical sense, but in the way it informs the perception and interpretation of landscapes? How do environmental movements both on the grassroots level and in the field of politics deploy religious sentiments and sacred symbols (including rootedness, mythical connections) to promote their cause? How do colonial and neocolonial projects put forward redemptive stories about development and growth to legitimize the appropriation and demolition of social landscapes and environments? The legacies of colonialism, the realities of neo-colonial inequalities, and the insights of post- and de-colonial approaches to the politics of knowledge and culture will be central to the intellectual conversation in the cloud.

We look forward to a lively discussion with as many colleagues as possible joining with their unique disciplinary and research perspectives! The Cloud will meet monthly. A sign-up list is available in Sciebo.

Coordination of Research Cloud 11:

Jelena Radovanović

Nandagopal Radhakrishna Menon

Roii Ball