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Spirited Topographies: Urban Refabulations, Underscapes, and Mobilities

This UC-wide symposium is an intervention in current debates regarding the ways that religion is entwined in urban place-making. This day-long symposium draws upon diverse regional and disciplinary perspectives to consider religion’s role in contemporary urban space and experience in light of the challenges that globalization and neo-liberal restructuring pose for urban lifeworlds.

May 09, 2014
from 02:15 PM to 02:15 PM

Working from a range of regionally specific cases and issues, presenters engage with the ways that vernacular imaginations of modernity, citizenship and civic space have emerged from articulations of religiosity with changing urban landscapes.

Each of the symposium’s three sessions is organized around a key term that frames particular aspects of these dynamic and mutually constitutive processes. "Urban Refabulation" focuses on the narrative, visual, spatial and performative modes by which urban spaces are reinscribed through religious practices and imaginaries. "Mobilities" examines how pathways and networks, virtual and physical, are created and harnessed in the ways that religiosities are enacted within and across urban spaces. "Underscapes" considers how spaces of abandonment and marginalization are reclaimed and reinvented.

Rather than defining the city as either the preeminent space of the secular or as the site of religion’s violent return, Spirited Topographies attends to alternate and emergent ways in which religion’s vernacular imaginaries are imbricated in urban landscapes and socialities, both as spaces of discipline and exclusion, and as sites of memory, hope, healing, and cultural futures.

The symposium’s convenor is Smriti Srinivas (Anthropology, UCD) and presenters include: Allen F. Roberts (World Arts and Cultures, UCLA), Christina Schwenkel (Anthropology, UCR), Simon Sadler (Design, UCD),  Jesus Hernandez, (Sociology, UCD),  George Lipsitz  (Black Studies/Sociology, UCSB),  Sunaina Maira (Asian American Studies, UCD),  Mary Nooter Roberts (World Arts and Cultures, UCLA), Halifu Osumare (African American and African Studies, UCD),  Bascom Guffin (Anthropology, UCD), Roxanne Varzi (Anthropology and Film and Media studies, UCI). Opening remarks are presented by Division of Social Sciences Dean George R. Mangun. 

Spirited Topographies is sponsored by the UC Davis Institute for Social Sciences and the Division of Social Sciences, the Davis Humanities Institute, the UC Davis Programs in Middle East/South Asia Studies and African American and African Studies, the Departmenst of Anthropology and Religious Studies and the University of California Humanities Network.

Learn more online about the Spirited Topographies.