Mapping Diversity: Religious/Cultural Centers in Oklahoma

Coming soon: interactive map

Mapping Diversity: A Collaborative Project in IAS 4013

Maps are useful tools for giving meaning and coherence to space. They identify patterns that illuminate the relationship between space and place. They can illustrate proximity and introduce a reader to her or his neighbors. They play a role in imagining communities. But as JZ Smith and others have shown, map is not territory. And far from neutral, the process of map-making, or representation, reflects the interests and biases of the mapmaker, the scholar. In mapping religions, this often means that points on the map may reflect dominant, majority groups deemed significant and privilege groups that can be easily identified and counted. However, in the field of religious studies, current scholarship is moving away from simplistic definitions and representations of religion and towards more nuanced approaches to religion.

Critical Questions for this Collaborative Project

Defining Religion: How do we draw boundaries and define traditions, communities or groups?

Digital Humanities: What is the relationship between the data and the digital tools? How does this affect the collection and interpretation of data?

Regional Approaches: What new insights come to light when studying religion regionally? What can the study of religion in Oklahoma tell us about this geographic, social, and cultural place? How do religious and cultural identities shape the place that is Oklahoma and the subsequent civic identities associated with it?

Public Humanities and Religious Literacy: What are the civic benefits and pedagogical outcomes of mapping religious diversity in terms of public education?