Constructing and Contesting Sacred Spaces
- Sun-Young Kim (McGill University), Hang-Sun Kim (Harvard University)
Recently, growing interest in the topic of religion has also led to increased attention to sacred spaces. One example is Rethinking Secularism: The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere (2011) by Judith Butler, Jürgen Habermas, Charles Taylor, and Cornell West. This seminar seeks to investigate the concept of the sacred in the public sphere of literature.
In literature across time, sacred spaces play various roles: examples range from the Garden of Eden as an iconic site of creation or lost utopia to temples as sites of political power struggle. A re-examination of the sacred in world literature provides a fruitful opportunity to think about the interactions of various literary traditions, their hierarchization, and preferred modes of representation and narration. This seminar aims to find a vocabulary to theorize the sacred and to understand how and why sacred spaces are evoked. We invite papers that examine the follow questions, but are not limited to:
- What does it mean to call a space sacred outside the realm of organized religions?
- How is the sacred related to the profane?
- Who defines the sacredness of spaces?
- What happens when sacred objects or ideas are taken from one faith tradition (e.g. Christian) and adopted by another (e.g. Buddhist)?
- How does literature construct and/or contest sacred spaces?
SEMINAR KEYWORDS: sacred, profane, public and private spheres, religion, utopia, myth, cross-cultural