Religion and Senses of Place - Graham Harvey

Religion and Senses of Place - Graham Harvey

Groundwork: Setting the Scenes

Religion and Senses of Place - Graham Harvey

Graham Harvey [+-]
Open University
Graham Harvey is Professor of Religious Studies at the Open University, UK. His research is concerned with the performance and rhetoric of identities among Jews, Pagans and indigenous peoples. He is particularly interested in the 'new animism', embracing relational and material approaches to interactions between humans and the larger than human world. His recent publications include The Handbook of Contemporary Animism(2013) and Food, Sex and Strangers: Understanding Religion as Everyday Life (2013).
Opinderjit Kaur Takhar [+-]
University of Wolverhampton
Opinderjit Kaur Takhar is Associate Professor of Sikh Studies and the Director of the Centre for Sikh and Panjabi Studies at the University of Wolverhampton, UK. She has written numerous academic publications on the Sikhs, including her research in the Oxford Handbook on Sikh Studies (2014). Her publications and research on the Ravidassia community is recognised worldwide and she has presented her work in Universities across the world. She is an Editorial Board member of the peer reviewed journal Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture and Theory. Takhar is Associate Editor for a Special Issue of the peer reviewed journal Contemporary South Asia. Takhar was awarded a MBE in 2018 for her services to Higher Education and the community in Wolverhampton. She was given the award for ‘Inspirational Woman of the Year’ in February 2020 by Asian Today. She was awarded for her contribution to Sikh Studies at the Pride of India Awards, held in the House of Lords London in 2017.


Precisely because religion involves physical, bodily, sensual activities, it happens in places. Some of these are identified as ‘sacred’ or ‘holy’ places. Special or required ways of behaving in religious places might be definitive of the rituals and other practices that define some acts as ‘religious’. But religion also happens in ‘ordinary’ or everyday places like kitchens and care homes. And there are vigorously defended ‘secular’ spaces which cast an invaluable light on what people mean by ‘religion’. Attention to senses of place is therefore a promising way of improving our understanding of the lived realities of religion(s). Religiously significant locations include some that are constructed—and perhaps enhanced over generations—and others that are ‘found’ in the larger-than-human world.

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Harvey, Graham; Takhar, Opinderjit. Groundwork: Setting the Scenes. Religion and Senses of Place. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 1-31 Sep 2021. ISBN 9781800500662. Date accessed: 21 Oct 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.42580. Sep 2021

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