Panel Discussion on Zoom
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How Italian Cities Created Religious Diversity
John Agnew, UCLA
Mariachiara Giorda, University of Roma Tre
Silvia Omenetto, Sapienza University, Rome
Introduced and moderated by Massimo Di Gioacchino, NYU
While mostly known around the world for its magnificent Catholic urban heritage – from the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome to the Duomo of Florence, from the depictions of the saints on the streets of Naples to statues of the Virgin Mary in Palermo – Italy has become after its unification in 1861 a much more diverse society, hosting today a large non-Catholic population. As a consequence, its urban landscape has profoundly changed since then and even today it keeps reflecting an extraordinary and often overlooked architectural and material variety: the urban geometry based on a monopoly has been transformed into a chaotic religious space.
How have religious denominations impacted the life of Italian cities? How is religious diversity experienced and perceived in urban spaces? How have urban spaces conformed and reframed religious practices, in particular in places of worship? How can religion be considered a cultural innovation marker in the process of urbanization?