S. Brent Rodriguez-Plate

According to Associate Professor of Religious Studies Brent Rodriguez-Plate, interfaith and interreligious dialogue has received a lot of attention in recent years, in academic and public life alike. He said that while “dialogue” is important, he and others have been finding other ways of connecting religious traditions and practices.

Stemming from conversations Plate has had in interreligious work in nearby Utica, N.Y., and in New York City, he served as the guest editor of a recent issue of CrossCurrents that focused on “Interreligious Aesthetics.”

The issue brings together scholars, writers, artists, and religious community leaders to think through a question Plate raises in his introduction to the issue, “What if we begin our approaches to interreligious connection through the basic religious activities of bodies, their encounters, and interactions?”

Answers to the question include a consideration of Sufi Muslim meeting places in London, a comparison of Hindu and Buddhist aesthetics, an examination of interfaith families in the U.S., artistic practices in the north of Spain, as well as two photo essays, one of them by Associate Professor of Art Rob Knight.

Knight contributed several images from his work examining, as he puts it, “the changing nature of sacred spaces, focusing particularly on spaces undergoing some form of transition – from one faith to another, from sacred to non-sacred, from use to disuse – in an attempt to understand the ways that architecture and place shape individual and group identity and the role that physical structures play in supporting community.”

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