Spirited Topographies: Urban Refabulations, Underscapes, and Mobilities
A UC-wide Symposium

May 9, 2014
Andrews Conference Room, Social Science and Humanities Building
UC Davis

Spirited Topographies is an intervention in current debates regarding the ways that religion is entwined in urban place-making.  This day-long symposium draws upon diverse regional and disciplinary perspectives to consider religion’s role in contemporary urban space and experience in light of the challenges that globalization and neo-liberal restructuring pose for urban lifeworlds.   Working from a range of regionally specific cases and issues, presenters engage with the ways that vernacular imaginations of modernity, citizenship and civic space have emerged from articulations of religiosity with changing urban landscapes. Each of the symposium’s three sessions is organized around a key term that frames particular aspects of these dynamic and mutually constitutive processes.  Urban Refabulation focuses on the narrative, visual, spatial and performative modes by which urban spaces are reinscribed through religious practices and imaginaries. Mobilities examines how pathways and networks, virtual and physical, are created and harnessed in the ways that religiosities are enacted within and across urban spaces. And Underscapes considers how spaces of abandonment and marginalization are reclaimed and reinvented. Rather than defining the city as either the preeminent space of the secular or as the site of religion’s violent return, Spirited Topographies attends to alternate and emergent ways in which religion’s vernacular imaginaries are imbricated in urban landscapes and socialities, both as spaces of discipline and exclusion, and as sites of memory, hope, healing, and cultural futures.

The symposium’s convenor is Smriti Srinivas (Anthropology, UCD) and presenters include: Allen F. Roberts (World Arts and Cultures, UCLA), Christina Schwenkel (Anthropology, UCR), Simon Sadler (Design, UCD),  Jesus Hernandez, (Sociology, UCD),  George Lipsitz  (Black Studies/Sociology, UCSB),  Sunaina Maira (Asian American Studies, UCD),  Mary Nooter Roberts (World Arts and Cultures, UCLA), Halifu Osumare (African American and African Studies, UCD),  Bascom Guffin (Anthropology, UCD), Roxanne Varzi (Anthropology and Film and Media studies, UCI).  The schedule and abstracts can be found at the following links.

Schedule: Spirited Topographies Program 2014 (PDF)
Abstracts: Spirited Topographies Abstracts 2014 (PDF)
Participants: Spirited Topographies Symposium Participants 2014 (PDF)

Spirited Topographies is sponsored by the UC Davis Institute for Social Sciences and Division of Social Sciences, Davis Humanities Institute, the Programs in Middle East/South Asia Studies Program and African American and African Studies, and the Departments of Anthropology and Religious Studies, and the University of California Humanities Network


  1. […] For information and a full lineup of speakers, visit and see the conference website at […]

  2. […] For information and a full lineup of speakers, visit and see the conference website at […]

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s