Call for Contributing Chapter
The co-editors are seeking a paper of 9,000 words in length for a volume entitled 'Space, Place and Religious Landscapes: Living Mountains' to be published by Bloomsbury Press in 2020. We are already mid-process with this work, but have been faced with the decision by one of the contributing authors to withdraw, due to taking on a post-doctoral position, thus leaving space for one more contributing chapter. Our 'due by' date for the completed paper would be 30 June 2019, thus we are seeking work from someone who either has a paper that is near completion or can adapt a paper to fit our book abstract below. Please feel free to contact us for further information or send us a 250 word abstract of your paper, along with a short prose biography, including your affiliation, recent publications, and contact details to: [email protected]
Mountains have played significant roles in religious lives for millennia. Always given proper names, mountains physically mediate between land and sky and thus are material metaphors for liminal spaces, guardians of gateways, and bridges from one realm to another, lending themselves to carry notions of bonding and reverence. Yet in terms of religious practice and material culture, scholars of material religion have maintained differing perspectives towards holy places. Jeanne Halgren Kilde considers that religious architecture organises people spatially to maintain power. Kim Knott discusses ways that social, cultural and physical space can be understood relationally through our bodies. Thomas Tweed argues that devotional spaces are both generated and generative, aligning Mircea Eliade’s substantive view that spaces are inherently sacred with Emile Durkheim’s situational view that societies create sacred spaces and ascribe meaning to them. Ian B.Straughn notes that places such as temples and shrines are ‘ongoing vehicles for practicing place-making’. This volume recognises that mountains are relational and that landscapes form personal and group cosmologies. It fuses ideas of space, place, and material religion with cultural environmentalism and takes an interconnected approach to material religio-landscapes (mountains). In this way it fills the gap between lived religious traditions, personal reflection, phenomenology, historical context, environmental philosophy, myths, ritualscapes, and performativity by asking the specific question of whether bonding and reverence to a mountain is constructed by people, intrinsic to the mountain or whether this is a mutual endeavour. Such questions further the current debates in ontology and new animism studies and also advance Viveiros de Castro’s ‘perspectivity’ in suggesting that mountains may be capable of a point of view. As Robert Macfarlane puts it, ‘I am interested, you could say, not only in what we make of places, but also in what places make of us.’ The chapters in this volume consider mountains in England, Scotland, Wales, Italy, Ireland, Iberia, the Himalaya, Japan, Greece, USA, South Asia, and the Andes and embrace the union of sky, landscape, and people to examine the religious dynamics between human and non-human entities. As Edwin Bernbaum suggests: ‘The sacred does not simply present itself to our gaze: it reaches out to seize us in its searing grasp.’ In defining material religion as active engagement with mountain-forming/human-shaping landscapes, the research/ideas presented here are also more widely applicable to other forms of material religion.