Lived Religion in the Digital Age Project Seeks ‘Religion Sheltered in Place’ Blogs
The Lived Religion in the Digital Age project at Saint Louis University seeks reflections on the upheavals, changes and creativity that have resulted from the COVID-19 crisis. The Lived Religion initiative explores religion as it is lived in the world around us, in our own lives, and as it traverses multiple formations of the local, the digital, and the public.
In this time of social distancing, religious institutions, religious leaders, community activists, artists, and individuals have come up with creative ways to upkeep their traditions and maintain their communities. “Religion Sheltered in Place” is a digital stories initiative of Lived Religion in the Digital Age that solicits reflections on the upheavals, rapid and dramatic changes, and creativity that have resulted from the COVID-19 crisis.
The Lived Religion project seeks contributions that reflect primarily on three areas of focus: religious and spiritual practice; (re)configurations of sacred space and entanglements of lived religion and digital platforms; and cultures and networks.
Some questions the project leaders hope authors will consider include:
- How have social distancing measures affected religious practice?
- What are specific rituals and customs that have been affected during the pandemic? What new practices, formations, spaces, and teachings have emerged?
- What does sheltering in place do to our understandings of space and place (sacred, spiritual, religious, or otherwise)?
- What legal and/or policy disputes around religion have surfaced in the context of this public health emergency?
- How has religion entered into conversations around health care, medicine, nursing, and other health professions during the pandemic?
- How are digital resources and technologies providing ways for religion—however defined continue even when groups cannot gather?
- How has this pandemic transformed our objects of study?
- How has it affected analytical paradigms of place, body, belief, power, practice, and presence?
Other takes on these broad themes are also welcomed and encouraged.
Lived Religion in the Digital Age fosters public understandings of religion in the modern world through scholarly and community-based activities. The project is co-directed by Rachel Lindsey, Ph.D., assistant professor, and Pauline Lee, Ph.D., associate professor, both in Saint Louis University’s Department of Theological Studies.
With a $400,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, Lindsey and Lee are exploring where people experience religion in the St. Louis region and are in the process of creating a digital map and database to show what they’ve found. While the map will include churches, mosques, temples and other houses of worship, it will also feature places and public art that isn't usually considered within a religious perspective.
In keeping with the overall mission, “Religion Sheltered in Place” invites academics, religious leaders, museum professionals, journalists and others to submit short posts or multimediated collections for online publication. These entries can take a variety of forms, including “hot takes,” photographic essays, audio or visual collections, short reflections, or longer analytical essays.
All submissions of an investigative or analytical nature will be considered, though the project is especially interested in posts that consider specificity of place. The Lived Religion hosting platform enables the inclusion of multiple forms of media, including photographs, videos, audio recordings and web links.
You can read more about the Lived Religion in the Digital Age project on its web site, which will also feature the Digital Stories forum. Please submit questions, comments or pitches to Project Administrator Samantha Arten at email@example.com.