This project brings together humanities and social science scholars who work on problems concerning the spaces, mobilities, and networks that religiosity relies on and constitutes, and the materially mediated and embodied nature of urban experience. They are also concerned with the ways that different collectives — youth cultures, middle classes, religious movements or ethnic groups — create designs for and of urban living that may run parallel to, interrogate, or challenge modernist, racialized, transnational or other geographies. All have published extensively on these topics, and several (Roberts, Roberts, Varzi) have also produced museum exhibitions and film.

  • Mary Hancock (Anthropology and History, UCSB) and Smriti Srinivas (Anthropology, UCD) work on urban space and religious practice, especially their embodied and cultural articulations, in South Asia and the U.S.
  • Mark Elmore (Religious Studies, UCD) studies religion’s engagement with urban and rural modernities in South Asia.
  • George Lipsitz  (Black Studies, UCSB) workson popular culture, race and memory, with current interests in the production of sacred space post-Katrina New Orleans.
  • Sunaina Maira (Asian American Studies, UCD)works on Indian American and Muslim American urban youth cultures, especially in relation to political mobilization, coalition-building, surveillance, and the War on Terror.
  • Vivian-Lee Nyitray (Religious Studies, UCR) works on Chinese and Chinese American religious expression and spatiality.
  • Mary Nooter Roberts (World Arts & Cultures, UCLA)studies African visual and performance-based arts and the translation of cultural experience into museum exhibitions.
  • Allen Roberts (World Arts & Cultures, UCLA) has interests ranging from art and AIDS awareness to Islamic mysticism, architecture, and ritual processes in Africa.
  • Christina Schwenkel  (Anthropology, UCR) works on post-socialist urbanization in Vietnam, with interests in how various forms of religiosity emerge and are expressed in cityscapes being resculpted by market forces.
  • Roxanne Varzi (Anthropology, UCI) studies how ritual, religion and space are produced and consumed, and how war produces culture, focusing on Iran and the Iranian diaspora in Europe.