Keynote lecture delivered by Professor Brian Larkin at the Transnational Religious Spaces? Religious Organizations and their Interaction in Africa, East Asia and Beyond workshop at the University of Leipzig.
This workshop seeks to explore and discuss how religious organizations create new spatial configurations through border-crossing endeavors, such as transnational missionary enterprises, migration, and refuge.
We assume that transnationally – or transregionally – mobile religious actors, institutions, artifacts, and ideas challenge and transform existing spaces of interaction, thereby helping to create new spatial formats, such as missionary spaces, diasporas, temple networks, or transnational organizations (such as religious NGOs). While some religious groups may tend to establish themselves primarily among “co-ethnics” and thus create religious ‘enclaves,’ others may hold universal aspirations by crossing ethnic, cultural, and religious boundaries. Furthermore, some of these religious enterprises may be the outcome of strategic and deliberate planning, while others are fueled by economically motivated migration, social-political settings, or government persecution.
The workshop consists of two parts, in order to combine regional expertise on African and East Asian religious organizations on the one hand, with transregional and theoretical approaches on the other hand.
The first part consists of two parallel streams, focusing on transnational religious interaction seen from East Asian and from African perspectives. In the joint sessions of part 2, we aim to translate the earlier findings, questions, and hypotheses into a broader discussion that will integrate regional expertise and theoretical reasoning into a comparative perspective.