Religion on the move

22nd October 2013

News, Alumni news

Rescripting Religion in the City: Migration and Religious Identity in the Modern Metropolis is the new book co-edited by Wadham Fellow and Tutor in History, Jane Garnett and former Wadham DPhil student, Alana Harris (2003, History).

  • Jane Garnett and Alana Harris

    Jane Garnett and Alana Harris

Exploring the role of faith and religious practices as strategies for understanding and negotiating migration, Rescripting Religion in the City, is made up of a series of essays by leading international scholars who draw on case studies of urban settings in the global north and south.

Jane Garnett explained the motivation for creating the book: “Over the last decade or so, and especially in the wake of 9/11, issues of faith have come increasingly to the fore in the media and on public policy agenda. In such contexts religion is viewed both positively and negatively, but either way is too often addressed in unhelpfully simplistic and homogenising terms. Our project was to bring together scholars from a range of different disciplines, cultures and perspectives to take part in a structured conversation across boundaries.  The book explores the interrelated ways in which religious belief and practice have mediated and transformed the experience of migration, and living in global cities has stimulated and renewed forms of religious identity.”

The idea for the book grew out of a workshop which Alana Harris, now a Fellow at Lincoln College, and Jane Garnett organised at Wadham. During the workshop a small group of people from all over the world debated interpretative approaches to understanding the role of religion in migration.

Presenting a nuanced understanding of the religious identities of migrants within the 'modern metropolis' this book makes a significant contribution to fields as diverse as twentieth-century immigration history, the sociology of religion and migration studies, as well as historical and urban geography and practical theology.

This is a boundary-crossing book in every sense. Its rich and varied studies shake up our categories of migrant and host, crosser and dweller, home and away. It continually crosses back and forth across disciplinary lines. And it gathers together topics often sealed off from one another: religion and migration, space and place, multiculturalism and public policy.

Linda Woodhead, Lancaster University

Rescripting Religion in the City is a wide-ranging, multi-disciplinary exploration that offers novel and fruitful idioms to understand the diverse ways in which migrants draw from their religious traditions to construct identities, map out spaces of livelihood, and engage with the state and civil society in the late-modern city.

Manuel A. Vasquez, University of Florida