Call for Abstract - panel LSA 2024 : How religion maps territories: moving identities?

DSC 0128 copie 1This panel, which will take place during the Lagos Studies Association annual conference between the 25th and the 29th of June, aims at questioning and putting into debate the idea that religion is at the core of “Africanness” and African identities through the relation between religion, geography and sociocultural change, considering that religions – such as Islam, Christianity, and so called “traditional” religions – map territories. It invites researchers to study how religions, as institutions and sets of practices and beliefs, depict not socio-geographical realities that would be “natural” and “already there”, but instead define their own place within a disputed social space, an intention to expand over historical territories, complex relations in a context of religious plurality and competition and, finally, social and power relations in local or national space, sometime used by politicians.

This relation between religions, geography and changing spaces can be thought through the following questions:

Do religions produce geographical maps and spiritual charts? To what extent, these maps and charts are part of the histories of the religions themselves, in particular Christianity and Islam in their will to expand and to convert in Nigeria? How do these maps and charts are used in the religious education as to teach morality to the devotees? What do these maps and charts say about the pluralization and the competitions between religions over time in Nigeria, but also the relations and syncretism between people’s beliefs and different communities dwelling the same place or space?

Then, more than a description of the physical and geographical world, maps and charts would be a symbol of religious values and norms, but also a projection “on paper” of the ambitions of the religious institutions and their vision of social relations in the space.

In that sense, how religions distinguish “home” and “foreign” spaces? How do they define, also, places, mobilities, travels and the inscription in a broader territory as part of the religious activities and beliefs? Considering, here, that religions are agents practicing the space and buildings (churches, mosques, shrines), how do they settle? For instance, what preaching in the streets of a Nigerian town or village mean to a Pentecostal devotee? What building a shrine or worshiping a tree in the public space or walking down the street with an ise se (Yoruba religion) mask mean?

Here the idea is to show to what extent religions lie in continuity with historical, administrative and political delimitations and/or reinvent new borders and territories based on religious beliefs, practices and ambitions.

Submission Guidelines:

- Abstracts should be approximately 500 words (bibliography is not included), clearly describing the datas (archives, ethnography, etc.) on which the communication will be grounded on.

- They should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

- Deadline to submit your abstract: March 15.

For your notice:

The organizers will provide for the accommodation of the selected participants and will also pay for their registration fees to the LSA conference.

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