The Socio-Historical Conditions of Sharing Sacred Sites: Reflections on Contemporary Cases Across the Mediterranean

Karen Barkey, Haas Distinguished Chair of Religious Diversity and Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, presented her latest research at the Center for Governance and Market’s Seminar Series, Coexistence in Pluralistic Society, on March 11, 2021. Her research asked how peaceful coexistence and cooperation can be encouraged even in deeply divided religious societies. Professor Barkey presented her results from years of fieldwork on this subject, highlighting the rich history of shared religious spaces drawing on case studies from the Balkans, Anatolia, and Palestine/Israel. All three regions were once under Ottoman rule. She illustrated how lasting communities are built across religious differences, as individuals come together at shared sacred sites, and how these connections can be much more resilient than ones fostered by secularization efforts.

Karen Barkey is the Haas Distinguished Chair of Religious Diversity at the Othering & Belonging Institute and a professor of sociology at University of California, Berkeley. She is also the director of the Center for the Study of Democracy, Toleration, and Religion at UC Berkeley.