Assoc. Prof. Ozayr Saloojee pens chapter in The Oxford Handbook of Religious Space

September 1, 2022

Associate Professor Ozayr Saloojee is among the contributors to The Oxford Handbook of  Religious Space, published in July 2022 by Oxford University Press. 


Dr. Saloojee wrote a chapter titled “Sacred Space in Nineteenth-Century Cape Town: Mosque, City, Landscape, and a Radical Empiricism of the Spatial,which appears in a section on Africa and the African Diaspora. 


His chapter discusses a method of theorizing and interpreting the space and identity of the 19-century Muslim community in the Bokaap neighborhood of Cape Town, South Africa. 


Saloojee suggests that through a radical empiricism of the spatial (a linking of ideas from postcolonial theory and religious studies), the spaces of this community can be made more fully known or conceptualized differently. 

The outcome is a proposal for an emergent spatial framework for the study of Muslim space, developed through a methodology that links empirical research with a phenomenological heuristic. The framework suggests that an infrastructural, associative, contingent, and anticipatory reading of space might allow for new conceptions of sacred space. 


The Oxford Handbook of Religious Space was edited by Jeanne Halgren Kilde, director of the Religious Studies program at the University of Minnesota. It features 33 essays by a multi-disciplinary roster of authors, including religious studies, anthropology, architecture, art history, and more. 

The essays each offer a specific way to think about the religious space under consideration: Roman shrines, Jewish synagogues, Christian churches, Muslim and Catholic shrines, indigenous spaces in Central America and East Africa, cemeteries, memorials, and more. 


The book presents a wide variety of theories and methods for the analysis of religious spaces through concrete case studies. It also examines religious spaces across time and geography from the antique period to the present, from Asia to the Americas.  


The publication is available as a 616-page hardcover book and as an E-book. 


Oxford Handbooks offer authoritative and up-to-date surveys of original research in a particular subject area. Specially commissioned essays from leading figures in the discipline give critical examinations of the progress and direction of debates and a foundation for future research.