Anna Bigelow: Storymapping Shared Sacred Sites: A Work/Site in Progress

Tue February 28th 2023, 12:00 - 1:15pm
Wallenberg 433A

Photo credit: Mehmet Okutan

Shared sacred sites exist all over the world, but mostly enter public consciousness in times of conflict and contestation. In everyday life, such sites are often zones of conviviality or negotiated plural presence. Our research group (based in the USA and France) is building a website to reflect the more complicated reality with the goal of providing mapping data on shared sites globally, providing rich stories that bring to life our places of deeper research, and eventually building curriculum materials to enable educators and others to incorporate this body of lesser known knowledge into their teaching and research. 

Cosponsored with the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies.

The presentation will include lunch and take place at the Stanford Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis in Wallenberg 433A. A Zoom link is available upon request from Center Manager, Jonathan Clark (jclark93 [at] (jclark93[at]stanford[dot]edu)).

About the Speaker

Anna Bigelow

Anna Bigelow is Associate Professor of Religious Studies specializing in Islamic Studies and the religions of South Asia and the Middle East. Her work focuses on Muslim devotional life, especially sacred spaces and ritual practice. Current research concerns the circulation of devotional objects at Sufi shrines in India and Turkey.

Professor Bigelow’s current book project is a comparative study of shared sacred sites in India and Turkey tentatively titled Sacred Space and the Secular State: Studies in India and Turkey. This work interrogates the shifting nature of secularism as experienced, interpreted, and adjudicated through shared sacred spaces. Her first book, Sharing the Sacred: Practicing Pluralism in Muslim North India (Oxford University Press, 2010) is a study of a Muslim majority town in Indian Punjab and the shared sacred and civic spaces of that community. Bigelow is co-editor (with Kambiz GhaneaBassiri) and contributor to a special issue (6:2) on Material Islam of the Yale journal MAVCOR (Material and Visual Cultures of Religion). She also edited the volume Islam through Objects (Bloomsbury, 2021) representing the state of the field of Islamic material cultural studies with chapters focusing on particular things as entryways into wider Muslim worlds.

Professor Bigelow received her BA from Smith College, MA from Columbia University, and PhD in Religious Studies from UC Santa Barbara. Her research received support from the Carnegie Scholars Program, the Social Science Research Council, and the American Institute of Indian Studies, among others.