USC Dornsife College Of Letters Arts and Sciences

University of Southern California

All social activity, including religious activity, is emplaced—it takes place in a particular geographic location that takes specific forms and is infused with meaning. CRCC strives to understand how religious groups interact with their geographic location, including its relationships with community organizations, individuals and families; the physical environment; and social and economic conditions.

Studying religion and place provides insight on how a congregation’s activities and presence are lived out on a daily basis. For example, religious groups in quiet suburban communities often operate very differently from congregations in poor inner-city neighborhoods. The differences in “place” characteristics, such as their relative wealth or poverty, the presence or absence of crime, the quality and type of physical spaces—including built and natural spaces—and how people attach meaning to these areas, constrain and encourage different kinds of religious activities.

show more