An exploration of the changing religious landscape through a close study of Greater Boston, landmark religious centers, and select mapping projects across the United States

Land Acknowledgment

Harvard University is located on the traditional and ancestral land of the Massachusett, the original inhabitants of what is now known as Boston and Cambridge. We pay respect to the people of the Massachusett Tribe, past, present, and future, and honor the land itself which remains sacred.

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A Changing Religious Landscape

The religious landscape of America is changing. In the past fifty years, new immigrants have arrived from all over the world seeking political freedom and economic prosperity. They have come with their cultural and religious traditions, their Qur’ans and Bhagavad Gitas, their rituals, prayers,  and forms of mediation, their songs, dances, and arts. They have put down roots in American soil and created community centers and sacred spaces.

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World Religions in Greater Boston

Boston map with religious traditions icon markers


From the beginning, Boston has been at the heart of the work of the Pluralism Project. In 1990, some 25 students joined Diana Eck for a course at Harvard University on “World Religions in New England.” By then, the increasing cultural diversity of the U.S. resulting from the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 had become noteworthy, but the religious dimension of that diversity often went unexamined. Each week, the class would visit religious communities in the Boston area and then meet to discuss what had been learned. From Sri Lakshmi Temple, located close to the starting point of the Boston Marathon, to New England’s first mosque, established in the shadows of the cranes of Quincy’s shipyards, we began to discover and document a religious landscape being transformed before our eyes. Out of this early research, the Pluralism Project was born; soon thereafter, the first edition of World Religions in Boston: A Guide to Communities and Resources was released.

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Other Mapping Projects

Below you'll find a list of local religion mapping projects in the United States. Please contact to suggest additions. Those marked with an asterisk are past affiliates of the Pluralism Project.


See List of Other Local Mapping Projects

Arch City Religion
Contact: Dr. Rachel McBride Lindsey
Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO

Atlanta Religious Soundmap
Contact: Dr. Kathryn McClymond
Emory University and Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA

Digitizing Rochester's Religions
Contact: Daniel Gorman Jr.
University of Rochester

Diversity and Civic Life: Religions Texas
Contact: Dr. Tiffany Puett
Austin, TX

Gathering Places
Contact: Dr. Christopher Cantwell
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Hidden Sacred Spaces
Contact: Dr. Wendy Cadge
Brandeis University, Boston, MA

Hinduism Here
Contact: Dr. John S. Hawley*
Barnard College, Columbia University, New York, NY

Mapping Jewish SF
Contact: Dr. Aaron Hahn Tapper
University of San Francisco

Ohio Pluralism Project
Contact: Dr. David W. Odell-Scott and Dr. Lauren M. Odell-Scott*
Kent State University, Kent, OH

On Neutral Ground: Mapping Religious Diversity in New Orleans
Contact: Dr. Timothy Cahill*
Loyola University, New Orleans, LA

Portland Muslims History Project
Contact: Dr. Kambiz GhaneaBassiri*
Reed College, Portland, OR

Religion in Western New York
Contact: Rev. Dr. Jonathan D. Lawrence*
Canisius College, Buffalo, NY

Religious Diversity in Minnesota Initiative
Contact: Dr. Shana Sippy and Dr. Michael McNally*
Carleton College, Northfield, MN

Religious Landscape of Utica, NY (directory of centers coming soon)
Contact: Dr. S. Brent Rodriguez Plate*
Hamilton College, Clinton, NY

Santa Clara University/Living Religion Collaborative/Mapping Religion
Contact: Dr. Elizabeth Drescher and Dr. Jaime Wright
Santa Clara University, Bay Area, CA

USC/Center for Religion and Civic Culture
Contact: Megan Sweas
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

World Religions in Richmond
Contact: Dr. David Bromley*
Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA