Hospitality, material culture and encounter: connections between Jewish, Christian and Muslim homes in London today

Authors: Emily Harris*, Queen Mary University of London
Topics: Religion, Cultural Geography, Urban Geography
Keywords: London, home, religion, interfaith, material culture, museum
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Studio 9, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This paper will focus on the home as a site of everyday connection, hospitality and encounter between Jewish, Christian and Muslim residents in London today. Drawing on recent fieldwork, the paper will outline the home as a space of religious belief, practice and material culture, exploring the interfaith significance of this in relation to the role of homemaking and hospitality practices across a range of spaces. Outwith formal interfaith work, encounters between people of different religions occur as part of everyday life in the home, street and neighbourhood. I will examine the role of food, material culture and dialogue in these encounters, as well as the ordinary, small-scale adjustments made to accommodate visitors of other faiths at home. These instances often go unnoticed in accounts of contemporary religion, and can contribute both to wider understandings of religion in London today, and the role of religion at home. I will also outline more formal examples of interfaith dialogue at home, setting out the shared importance of hospitality, curation and adaptation in these contexts. Bringing together geographies of home, material culture and everyday religion, this paper will outline a new understanding of domestic space as co-constructed through a diversity of encounters, material cultures and hospitable practices in the context of contemporary religion. Lastly, I will consider public engagement in reference to a collaborative exhibition at The Geffrye Museum of the Home, discussing the role of religion, hospitality and material culture in the museum.

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