The Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth’s 2019 conference
This panel explores how the secularization of religious heritage informs the construction of temporalities in which the sacred and the secular intersect. Amongst other aspects, it explores to what extent heritage futures incorporate religious temporalities in secular practice.
In our secularizing world, religion has become increasingly subject to heritagisation. But whilst legacies of religion become subjected to heritage regimes, religious practices are not at all over-determined by heritagisation. Christian Cathedrals, witch covens, and ancient pilgrimages, provide experiences of the sacred that elude heritage regimes. This posits an interesting inquiry for our post-secular age: How does the heritagisation of religion in contemporary religious practices affect experiences of the sacred? One of the defining features of religious thought and practice is the concept of renewal. Informing Christian eschatology and its expectations for the future, this temporal notion is incorporated in the resurrection of Christ. Ideas of renewal also inform other religious and secular formations. To what extent is the idea of renewal, so pivotal to religious and secular ontologies, present in heritage? Thinking about the temporality of re-enactment, can heritage practices of re-enactment be conceived as incorporating religious time in secular practice? How is the promise of renewal translated into new temporalities of the future? In this panel, religious heritage is understood as both legacy from the past and promise for the future. We explore how the intersection of secular and sacred time in heritage practices informs constructions of the future. The interference of religious and secular time asks for an inquiry into the temporalities of the sacred in our post-secular age.
Convenors: Ferdinand de Jong (University of East Anglia) and Rasmus Rask Poulsen (University of Copenhagen)