Publications

The Publications section features work by scholars that are directly involved with the Shared Sacred Sites project. Many are currently undertaking research that directly or indirectly contributes to the study of shared sacred sites, and associates of the project contribute intellectually to content that is published every year.


Le réveil des Sept Dormants

Le reveil des Sept Dormants coverBy Manoël Pénicaud (2016)

Découvrez les coulisses d’un pèlerinage pas comme les autres. Un pèlerinage qui œuvre depuis bien longtemps pour le dialogue islamo-chrétien en France : celui des Sept Dormants. L’islamologue et orientaliste Louis Massignon a greffé, dès 1954, cette rencontre sur une fête patronale dédiée aux Sept Dormants d’Éphèse, aussi connus en islam sous le nom de Ahl al-Kahf. Voilà comment réaliser et localiser dans l’espace l’utopie de cet entrepreneur interreligieux.

L’ethnographie contemporaine révèle, elle, une nouvelle facette du phénomène des lieux saints partagés par des fidèles de religions différentes. Bien que pensé pour le dialogue, ce pèlerinage n’est pas exempt d’ambiguïtés ni de tensions, notamment envers l’islam qui, malgré l’ouverture et l’altruisme affichés, demeure « une religion invitée dans un pèlerinage inventé ». C’est aussi un espace hétérogène où l’on croise, Bretons, militants du dialogue, massignoniens, agnostiques, touristes, néo-Celtes et autres New Agers. Après avoir été déverrouillé par Massignon, le sanctuaire est devenu l’épicentre d’un pèlerinage inclusif.

Soixante ans après la fondation de ce pèlerinage inattendu, voici un éclairage saisissant sur les relations islamo-chrétiennes en France et sur la problématique générale du « vivre ensemble » aux XXe et XXIe siècles.


Choreographies of Shared Sacred Sites:  Religion, Politics, and Conflict Resolution

Choreographies coverEdited by Elazar Barkan and Karen Barkey (2014)

This anthology explores the dynamics of shared religious sites in Turkey, the Balkans, Palestine/Israel, Cyprus, and Algeria, indicating where local and national stakeholders maneuver between competition and cooperation, coexistence and conflict. Contributors probe the notion of coexistence and the logic that underlies centuries of “sharing,” exploring when and why sharing gets interrupted–or not–by conflict, and the policy consequences.

These essays map the choreographies of shared sacred spaces within the framework of state-society relations, juxtaposing a site’s political and religious features and exploring whether sharing or contestation is primarily religious or politically motivated. Although religion and politics are intertwined phenomena, the contributors to this volume understand the category of “religion” and the “political” as devices meant to distinguish between the theological and confessional aspects of religion and the political goals of groups. Their comparative approach better represents the transition in some cases of sites into places of hatred and violence, while in other instances they remain noncontroversial. The essays clearly delineate the religious and political factors that contribute to the context and causality of conflict at these sites and draw on history and anthropology to shed light on the often rapid switch from relative tolerance to distress to peace and calm.


Sharing Sacred Spaces in the Mediterranean: Christians, Muslims, and Jews at Shrines and Sanctuaries

Albera Couroucli Sharing Sacred Spaces in the Mediterranean coverEdited by Dionigi Albera and Maria Couroucli (2012)

While devotional practices are usually viewed as mechanisms for reinforcing religious boundaries, in the multicultural, multiconfessional world of the Eastern Mediterranean, shared shrines sustain intercommunal and interreligious contact among groups. Heterodox, marginal, and largely ignored by central authorities, these practices persist despite aggressive, homogenizing nationalist movements. This volume challenges much of the received wisdom concerning the three major monotheistic religions and the “clash of civilizations.” Contributors examine intertwined religious traditions along the shores of the Near East from North Africa to the Balkans.


Sharing the Sacra: The Politics and Pragmatics of Inter-communal Relations Around Holy Places

Bowman Sharing the Sacra coverEdited by Glenn Bowman (2012)

“Shared” sites, where members of distinct, or factionally opposed, religious communities interact—or fail to interact—is the focus of this volume. Chapters based on fieldwork from such diverse sites as India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, China, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia, and Vietnam demonstrate how sharing and tolerance are both more complex and multifaceted than they are often recognized to be. By including both historical processes (the development of Chinese funerals in late imperial Beijing or the refashioning of memorial commemoration in the wake of the Vietnam war) and particular events (the visit of Pope John Paul II to shared shrines in Sri Lanka or the Al-Qaeda bombing of an ancient Jewish synagogue on the Island of Djerba in Tunisia), the volume demonstrates the importance of understanding the wider contexts within which social interactions take place and shows that tolerance and intercommunalism are simultaneously possible and perpetually under threat.


Sharing the Sacred: Practicing Pluralism in Muslim North India

Bigelow Sharing the Sacred coverBy Anna Bigelow (2010)

Inter-religious relations in India are notoriously fraught, not infrequently erupting into violence. This book looks at a place where the conditions for religious conflict are present, but active conflict is absent. Bigelow focuses on a Muslim majority Punjab town (Malkerkotla) where both during the Partition and subsequently there has been no inter-religious violence. With a minimum of intervention from outside interests, Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs have successfully managed conflict when it does arise. Bigelow explores the complicated history of the region, going back to its foundation by a Sufi saint in the fifteenth century. Combining archival and interview material, she accounts for how the community’s idealized identity as a place of peace is realized on the ground through a variety of strategies. As a story of peace in a region of conflict, this study is an important counterbalance to many conflict studies and a corrective to portrayals of Islamic cultures as militant and intolerant. This fascinating town with its rich history will be of interest to students and scholars of Islam, South Asia, and peace and conflict resolution.