Sharing Sacred Spaces in the Mediterranean

Sharing Sacred Spaces in the Mediterranean

Christians, Muslims, and Jews at Shrines and Sanctuaries
Edited by Dionigi Albera and Maria Couroucli
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 02/20/2012
Format: Paperback 1 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-22317-3
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While devotional practices are usually viewed as mechanisms for reinforcing religious boundaries, in the multicultural, multiconfessional world of the Eastern Mediterranean, shared shrines sustain intercommunal and interreligious contact among groups. Heterodox, marginal, and largely ignored by central authorities, these practices persist despite aggressive, homogenizing nationalist movements. This volume challenges much of the received wisdom concerning the three major monotheistic religions and the "clash of civilizations." Contributors examine intertwined religious traditions along the shores of the Near East from North Africa to the Balkans.

Author Bio

Dionigi Albera is Senior Researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and Director of the Institut d’Ethnologie Méditerranéenne et Comparative.

Maria Couroucli is Senior Researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Laboratoire d'Ethnologie et Sociologie Comparative.


“Contributors explore local traditions from North Africa to the Balkans via the Near Eastern shores, demonstrating that despite official representations to the contrary, the religions of the Mediterranean are deeply intertwined.”

“Promises to ignite new discussions and understandings of Islam in relation to the other great religious traditions of the West. . . . Allows the opening of larger questions and the beginning of a quest to regain a world that we wish we still had.”
 — Charles Stewart, University College London

“Primarily anthropological in approach and methodology, this book will . . . be engaging and stimulating for geographers of religion. It shows the need for a diachronic perspective in the study of the tensions between sacred and secular spheres, for a wider geographical coverage of case studies, and for the further study of the neglected geographies of the sacred.”
 — Journal of Historical Geography

“Overall, the chapters take a diversity of approaches, and at the same time portray the diversity and also complexity involved in the sharing of sacred spaces in this region.”
 — Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

“[T]his volume is an extremely timely and welcome arrival, addressing as it does a yawning gap in the literature. . . . In gathering an array of methodological perspectives and a range of different experiences, it brings to light a diversity of both commonalities and points of divergence in shared practices and spaces. . . . Sharing Sacred Spaces will spark debate, perhaps controversy, and hopefully further research into points of contact between the monotheistic religions, and others.”
 — Levantine Review

“[P]rovides a collection of essays describing ‘shared spaces’ used by Muslims, Christians and Jews, generally located around the Mediterranean Sea and dated to the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, but with some attention to other locations and periods as well. Overall, these essays shun architectural formalism and instead focus on narratives of space and place, as informed by function, tradition, gesture, paths of movement and personal interviews.4.2 Oct. 2015”
 — International Journal of Islamic Architecture

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Sharing Sacred Places--A Mediterranean Tradition / Maria Couroucli
1. Identification and Identity Formation around Shared Shrines in West Bank Palestine and Western Macedonia / Glenn Bowman
2. The Vakëf: Sharing Religious Space in Albania / Gilles de Rapper
3. Kom<s,HAC>iluk and Taking Care of the Neighbor's Shrine in Bosnia-Herzegovina / Bojan Baskar
4. The Mount of the Cross: Sharing and Contesting Barriers on a Balkan Pilgrimage Site / Galia Valtchinova
5. Muslim Devotional Practices in Christian Shrines: The Case of Istanbul / Dionigi Albera and Benoît Fliche
6. Saint George the Anatolian: Master of Frontiers / Maria Couroucli
7. A Jewish-Muslim Shrine in North Morocco: Echoes of an Ambiguous Past / Henk Driessen
8. What Do Egypt's Copts and Muslims Share? The Issue of Shrines / Catherine Mayeur-Jaouen
9. Apparitions of the Virgin in Egypt: Improving Relations between Copts and Muslims? / Sandrine Keriakos
10. Sharing the Baraka of the Saints: Pluridenominational Visits to the Christian Monasteries in Syria / Anna Poujeau
Conclusion: Crossing the Frontiers between the Monotheistic Religions, an Anthropological Approach / Dionigi Albera

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