Religious Pluralism and Imagination
: Towards a Postsecular City

  • Giuseppe Carta

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


This thesis advances two arguments for rethinking postsecular urbanism. First, it argues that it should be thought as a form of apophatic pluralism, wherein, while every religious or nonreligious group is empowered to find its modes of expression, none of their doctrines can be normative for the whole polity. To think pluralism via apophasis is to conceive space as the coming together of incommensurable monads, set free to search for truths while intermingling one another in the construction of the everyday. The second point is that its epistemic register must be that of imagination, framed as the noetic capacity of relating with the materiality and immateriality of the world. This work upholds that geography must try to pluralize imagination, to open the city to different processes of aesthesis and different conceptions of beauty. The work is composed by five chapters. The first is a theoretical review dedicated to matters of religious pluralism, secularization and secularism, and postsecular theories. The survey suggests that the notion of postsecularism should be redefined on the lines of apophatic pluralism. The second chapter is dedicated to geography of religion. It focuses on how geographical research addresses the materiality/immateriality of religion by looking at its outward and inward dimensions. The third chapter proposes an approach to geography of religion based on imagination, captured in the Aristotelian tradition as reshaped by post-Avicennan Islamic philosophy. It is advanced that the enigma of nous poietikos should be let open to different epistemics. In the forth chapter, these arguments are illustrated in reference to the project ‘Reimagining the Mosque, Opening the City’, a series of public workshops I have planned and coordinated with a number of scholars and Muslim artists in Rome and Bologna, Italy.
Date of Award25 Sep 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorMark Jackson (Supervisor)

Cite this