Geographical Indication and Religious Authenticity


A ‘geographical indication’ is a form of intellectual property protection designed to protect products with spatial associations in the minds of consumers. Think ‘Cognac’ or ‘Dijon mustard.’ Continuing a series on the theology of intellectual property, I examine the relevance of ‘geographical indications’ to religious faith. Given the connection of religious beliefs to specific places, how do we discriminate between authentic and inauthentic ties? By tracing the spatial displacement of religious practices in an age of wide-scale population movement, I discern how equivalents to ‘geographic indications’ emerge, transform, and function in everyday religious experience.

Nashville, Tennessee