Rethinking public religion: Word, image, sound

As Matthew Engelke writes in his introductory essay, “This forum explores a set of interlocking questions concerning how we approach the study of public religion. How and when, above all, is it ‘public’? What are the conditions and qualities of religious publicity? And what becomes of ‘religion’ when our focus falls more squarely on its modes of publication, presence, and circulation?

Contributions to the forum are drawn from scholars working in Africa and South Asia, all of whom are participating in conversations and events at Columbia University’s Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life (IRCPL).”

Through their forthcoming essays, “the authors . . . are developing oblique approaches to the articulation of public religion, and, in so doing, underscoring the centrality of religious publicity. Taken together, they allow for newly comparative angles on a well-developed subject of interest, putting the public into motion, into the air, and, quite literally in some cases, into the concrete.”

Continue reading co-editor (with managing editor Mona Oraby) Engelke’s introduction here, where he outlines the questions and topics explored by the eight contributors.

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