University challenges: Negotiating secularism and religiosity in higher education institutions

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While geographers’ examinations of religion and secularism have emphasized
identity politics of faith in everyday life, little attention has been paid to intuitional politics and historical approaches to religious accommodation. Such historical approaches are critical to understanding contemporary religious service provision outside metropolitan areas, where minority faiths typically depend on the ‘goodwill’ of institutions. This paper examines campaigns to establish a mosque at a secular British university in the 1980s and 1990s, highlighting the different visions for the project: a sacred space for communal
worship and a resource to attract lucrative international students. It highlights how notions of hospitality towards international students were emphasized to circumvent concerns that the university’s secular status would be damaged by such a development. The paper concludes by considering questions on the role of hospitality in accommodating diversity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1983-1999
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • universities
  • Muslims
  • religion
  • secularism
  • sacred spaces
  • multiculturalism
  • institutions
  • Wales


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