The project Dwelling and Crossing: The socio-cultural dynamics of religious spaces in Mumbai will study the significance of religion in the daily life of India’s global metropolis Mumbai, a city with a number of religious spaces shared by different religions. What are the underlying cultural and social conditions at these multireligious sites? And what lessons for modern urban religion can be learned?

A spatial approach

The project takes a spatial approach, i.e., contrary to most earlier research it does not focus on specific groups, but on places. This strategy goes against the trend to homogenize different religions or groups as clear-cut entities, but aims at a spatial cross-section of religion. In particular, this refers to neighborhoods, sanctuaries with a cross-religious appeal, pavements and slums, and festivals with processions that cut across the city. Given the notorious tradition of religious tensions in the city, the project will also focus on the history and prevention of riots.

Another theme of the project is the involvement of civil society actors in Mumbai in negotiating the complex issue of inter-religious marriage. Last but not least, the project looks at the ways in which religion, religions, religious diversity and conflict are reflected in Mumbai-related Indian fiction.

Project manager: István Keul (AHKR)

The project, with a duration of four years (1.10.2014–31.9.2018), is based at the Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural studies and Religion (AHKR), University of Bergen. The project is funded by the Norwegian Research Council through the SAMKUL program.

Header photo by Håkon Tandberg.