P178
The Plural and Relational in Religious Practices, Concepts, and Spaces in Africa

Convenors:
Benjamin Soares (University of Florida)
Eva Spies (University of Bayreuth)
RĂ¼diger Seesemann (University of Bayreuth)
Stream:
Panels
Location:
KH118
Start time:
29 June, 2017 at 9:00
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

This panel invites contributions that highlight the diversity of religious expressions, imaginations, and locations in Africa and demonstrate how religious practices, concepts, and uses of space help to constitute each other through their mutual imbrication and relationality.

Long abstract:

This panel revolves around the multiple and changing religious practices, concepts, and spaces in Africa and its diaspora. Our analytical focus is on the relational character of religious expressions, imaginations, and locations, whether identified as "African Traditional Religions", Christian, Islamic, Hindu or other contemporary religious movements. Our starting point is the assumption that religious traditions constitute and are constituted through the relations between them as well as through the relations among their diverse forms. Such relations can occupy the entire range from adaptation, appropriation, exchange, competition, conflict, rejection, etc. Urban contexts are particularly suited to illustrating how actors of diverse religious traditions share public spaces and are linked with similar social groups, thereby offering insights into the ways religious practices, concepts, and spaces interrelate and influence each other. In rural contexts, plural religious instantiations often constitute part of everyday life (e.g., in multi-religious uses of certain ritual places or the multiple sources of religious knowledge, as with many healers), which feeds back into the entanglements of urban religion. We are particularly interested in contributions that highlight the diversity of religious practices, concepts, and spaces while demonstrating how such practices, concepts, and uses of spaces constitute each other through their relationality. We also invite studies of specific themes, social formations, practices, texts, or objects with an analytical perspective on their relations to other activities, texts, objects, (religious) traditions, etc. Given the conference's thematic focus, we especially solicit proposals that address modes of religious relationality in rural-urban encounters or in urban contexts.