Today interfaith chapels are locations open to all religious practices at airports, hospitals, and colleges. Ecumenical efforts also occur in many parishes as groups seek to achieve cultural exchange and mutual understanding. Such accommodations to devotional differences and interfaith dialogues were not always possible. In many parts of the world, conflicts over shared religious spaces are still a daily occurrence.

Between 1500 and 1800, sharing any devotional, ritual, and sacred spaces created internal complexities to social, political, and economic relationships in Europe and beyond. Global colonization and the Protestant Reformation brought diverse religions and new Christian denominations into regular contact. This research project, which includes digital and print components, investigates the local arrangements made for sharing churches and sacred spaces in early modern Europe to draw broader conclusions about the abilities and limitations of the human capacity to accommodate religious differences. It seeks to investigate three interrelated questions:

  • How did early modern communities navigate the challenges that arose when congregations willingly or through necessity shared devotional spaces?
  • How did they cope with the presence of different devotional practices, objects, and ideas and their visual and aural manifestations in the shared space?
  • What impact did the resolutions and conflicts over devotional space have on social, economic, political relationships within the communities, and regional and transregional interactions?

The research team in collaboration with international scholars and institutions build new transdisciplinary methodologies and theories to answer these and related questions. We analyze the impact of shared devotional spaces and religious diversity on individuals and social groups