Call 2: Immaterial heritage: religion and landscape

Religious customs and traditions such as processions, ceremonies and other customary practices are often described in terms of the actions, activities and of the paraphernalia that are used to accompany these actions. In this session, however, we will focus on the spatial context, and more in particular on the landscape, within which the immaterial heritage is staged. Rather than seeing the landscape as a mere accidental physical background, we would like to investigate the interconnections and  interdependence between religious ceremonies and the landscape within which they are performed.

How do traditions define the landscape and vice versa? Are ceremonies and traditions something that give meaning to the landscape or is the meaning attached only to the immaterial heritage as such? Do landscapes have a decisive impact on traditions or is it the other way around? If yes, how? How and in what sense do religious ceremonies such as processions alter the perception of the landscape? What does it mean to speak of the sacralisation of the landscape and what were the elements or stages towards this evolution? How and in what sense can a place be called ‘sacred’ or ‘holy’? How and in what sense do religious actions as well as the landscape itself play a role in this process?  To what extent can the interaction between all of these elements lead to an evolution in the landscape and what role can immaterial heritage play in landscape preservation?

We invite papers that take these and other questions as a starting point of reflection and that can broaden the perspective on the landscape by going beyond the natural, political and economic approaches that were dominant during the last centuries.