Shared Sacred Sites


Click here for the full information on the New York Exhibition.

The newest installation of the Shared Sacred Sites Exhibition and accompanying public events are taking place in New York City on March 27-June 30, 2018.


Shared Sacred Sites is organized as a contemporary “pilgrimage” in Manhattan through three venues: The New York Public Library, the Morgan Library and Museum, and the James Gallery at the CUNY Graduate Center.

At the New York Public Library, the exhibition opens with the history of the Holy Land, a look at Jerusalem as both holy city and center of pilgrimage for three faiths. The Morgan Library and Museum brings an altogether different aspect of the story of coexistence and collaboration between diverse cultures in a display of the celebrated Morgan Picture Bible produced in Paris around 1250, which offers the most exquisite visualizations of the events of the Old Testament. The Graduate Center at the City University of New York gathers contemporary examples compiled by an international team with various explorations and experiences in sanctuaries, presenting a medley of artifacts, contemporary art, multimedia, and photographs.

Click here for the brochure of the Exhibition. Official Press Kit is coming soon.


These exhibitions will be accompanied by a series of events that will feature music, conversations and workshops, highlighting the essence of these shared cultural experiences. The exhibition will open at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York on the 27th of March, with welcoming addresses and a presentation by Yinon Muallem, Meeting of the Hearts, a unique blend of discussion, sound and composition bridging across different religions and cultures. This performance was inspired by the mutual influences between Sufi mystic poetry and medieval traditions of Spanish Jewry.

CUNY Opening Reception
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
6:00–9:00 PM
Live music by Yinon Muallem at 7:00–8:00 PMThe James Gallery
The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue
New York City

We will continue with an opening at the New York Public Library on the 28th of March, with a conversation between three Faith Leaders from each of the Abrahamic Religions. Featuring Cheik Khaled Bentounès, Rabbi Rolando Matalon and Minister and Theologian Cláudio Carvalhaes, we will discuss the issues of mutual tolerance, universal understandings of hospitality that emanate from the tradition of Abraham, as well as how each religious tradition has within itself the capacity to extend to the other and promote “living together in peace.” Each of these religious leaders has thought, reached out and acted to counter the divisions experienced in the world. This event will be moderated by Anisa Mehdi, acclaimed journalist and filmmaker and director of the Abraham’s Path Initiative.  The discussion will be followed by a viewing of the NYPL part of the exhibit.

NYPL Exhibition Preview and Conversation
Tolerance: A Conversation Between Faith Leaders
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
6:30–8:00 PMThe Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Trustees Room
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
476 Fifth Avenue
New York City

A day-long workshop at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York on the 29th of March will continue the conversations about pluralism and coexistence. Here, we will discuss the cases of coexistence, tolerance and intolerance in the Middle East through the lens of shared music and shared sites, as well as shift the focus to discuss the vagaries of pluralism in contemporary America. With a series of famed historians and social scientists of the United States, we will explore whether our long-coveted pluralism is now fuel for divisions.

You can find more information about the workshop here.


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Overview of Shared Sacred Sites

Shared Sacred Sites is a collaborative project that seeks to develop a rubric for the description, classification, analysis, and publication of work relating to spaces and locations used by multiple, disparate communities for religious purposes. The project is composed of several sub-projects that individually address different and particular difficulties in the study of shared sacred sites and that combine to form an important, updated, and modern survey of the unique features, mechanisms, and adaptations of coexistence found in the communities involved with shared sacred sites.

“SACRED SITES that are shared by two or more groups have long been a source of intellectual and scholarly curiosity. These sites often have a dynamic history. In India, Palestine, the Balkans, and elsewhere, we can see fluctuations between periods of peaceful sharing and of conflict over joint use. At times these sites can become the locus of communal violence. Scholarly debates on shared sacred sites often focus on the meaning of “coexistence,” on the logic that reputedly underlies centuries of “sharing” and why that sharing gets interrupted by conflict. Among the studies that interrogate toleration, syncretism, and religious antagonism more broadly, scholarly explanations can often be divided to two ideal types: one that anticipates and emphasizes continuing conflict and the other that privileges peaceful coexistence. Both see periods of interruption in either coexistence or violence, but for both ideal types, the disruption is the exception that proves the rule.”
–Elazar Barkan and Karen Barkey, “Introduction” in Choreographies of Shared Sacred Sites, 2014: 1

The sharing of spaces, sites, and symbolism by multiple religious communities demonstrates the practical choreographies and social possibilities of cooperation between potentially antagonistic communities, and the study of such sharing provides key insights into characteristics and features crucial to the cultivation of tolerance and understanding.

To begin, select the sub-project of interest from the menu above or visit the about page for more information.