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Cambridge Interfaith Programme

 
Safet HadziMuhamedovic - shared sacred landscapes

https://www.sharedsacred.com

The Shared Sacred project focuses on the spatial and temporal modes of proximity between persons and communities of ‘different’ faith. It features visual and ethnographic investigations of the tangible and intangible effects of such proximity, embodied in shared landscapes, whether past, present or imagined as the future.

Thinking of ‘sharing’ and ‘proximity’ already includes the proposition of some kind of distinction (between persons, genders, religions, ethnicities, etc.), which is usually the result of deep epistemic differentiations. In other words, we might not notice some sacred landscapes as ‘shared’ unless we have already mastered the vocabulary for their ‘different’ constitutive elements. Such languages of distinction may be a methodological fallacy with far-reaching consequences for the communities we write about. 

Rather than emphasising political difference, this project seeks to understand what happens to sacred environments when varying forms of knowledge and practice encounter each other. Such contact may be brief, intermittent and fractured, or steady, durable and even deeply ontological. It may be fraught with conflict, but also temper into forms of resilience to social antagonism. In climates of a heightened politics of distinction, religiously plural and shared landscapes may appear as anchors of change, promising a way out of the quicksand of exclusionary, discriminative regimes. 

Projects to disconnect communities of faith have had long histories and continue to be painfully visible across the world. We are particularly aware of the recent surges of nationalism and exclusionary politics, including wars, ethno-religious engineering, construction of separation barriers and outbursts of physical and verbal violence made ‘in defence’ of religious ‘purity’. In response, this project points to the abundance of enduring shared religious landscapes, testifying to rich and creative coexistences and mixtures. 

The ‘Shared Sacred Landscapes’ project is supported by the University of Cambridge, through the Public Engagement Starter Fund. Inaugurated in 2021, activity included an experimental panel on inter-faith photography for wide audiences, an international symposium (The Khidr Dialogues), and a digital exhibition of anthropological photography. Further planned activities include a physical exhibition and a competition for schoolchildren.

For more information about the project, visit https://www.sharedsacred.com

Principal Investigator

Dr Safet HadžiMuhamedović

Publications

Dr HadžiMuhamedović's related publications are available here. The proceedings of 'The Khidr Dialogues' symposium are planned as an edited volume.

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