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The Sacred, the Secular, and the State

Type: Paper
Theme: Ethnonationalism and Exclusion Around the World
Sponsor Groups: Geography of Religions and Belief Systems Specialty Group, Political Geography Specialty Group, Eurasian Specialty Group
Organizers: Vincent Artman
Chairs: Vincent Artman


The secular nation-state is in many respects the normative political institution that structures the contemporary international system. Despite their stated secularism, however, many states nevertheless intervene in the religious sphere in a variety of ways, blurring the putative distinction between “church” and “state.” Beyond such interventions, moreover, other forms of identity, including gender, ethnic, national, and religious, are bound up with the state in collective memory, popular discourse, and everyday practice. Arguably, then, political-territorial institutions intersect with different formulations of identity in a dynamic process of mutual constitution. Making sense of the “significance and meaning” of the territorial state in the modern world therefore necessitates paying attention to such concerns, particularly vis-à-vis the question of religion.

The aim of this session is to explore issues related to the kinds spatialities, for example, that emerge out of the connections between religion, the state, ethno-national identity, gender, class, and/or other forms of subjectivity? What are the implications for theories of secularism? And how might recognition of the “hidden” imbrications of the state and the sacred shape the way we approach the problem of nationalism?

If you are interested in having your paper included in this session, please contact Vincent Artman (


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Kenneth Madsen*, The Ohio State University, Divine Antecedents to Contemporary Borders 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Devran Öcal*, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, Mosques as Everyday Geopolitical Spaces 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Maxim Samson*, DePaul University, Protecting Religious Liberties? Security Concerns at Places of Worship in Chicago 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Vincent Artman*, Miami University, Bounding Belief - National and Religious Identities in Central Asia 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Samuel Henkin*, University of Kansas, Militant Extremist Radicalization in Malaysia: A Geospatial Analysis 15 12:00 AM

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