Authorizing Inscriptions: Religion, Aesthetics, and Global Media April 11-12, 2008
Conference Theme: A Conference on Religion and Media at University of California, Davis
In recent decades, scholars of religion have begun to examine media as a means of transmitting, reinforcing, or undermining religious beliefs and practices. These investigations have helped dislodge religion from the space outside history where earlier generations of scholars had located it. We seek to advance such studies by attending not solely to particular practices or traditions, but also to the categories of religion and media framing them. The identification of beliefs, techniques, and technologies as authentic or problematic within different contexts unsettles any attempt to construe relations between religion and media as purely instrumental, and suggests that religion and media are constituted mutually.
Under the broad title “authorizing inscriptions,” we invite papers exploring the mutual constitution of religion and media in specific social, historical, and cultural circumstances. “Authorizing inscriptions” attempts to refocus attention on the ever-unstable play across verbal, visual, corporeal, and ethical registers. Revealing themselves only in flashes, authorizing inscriptions traverse the material and the informational, the verbal and the visual, the dominant and the subaltern. We seek papers addressing this complex interplay. Rather than recuperating the visual, recovering lost voices, or disclosing invented categories, we hope to trace the many effects of particular ecologies of inscription.
We warmly invite papers that address the following questions:
•What strategies reflect and shape religious practitioners’ engagement with authorized inscriptions (revelation, sacred space, reason)?
•How is the authority of authorized inscriptions constituted, reified, or redefined?
•What kinds of moral community do various media presuppose?
•How does the materiality of particular media (text, image, body, etc.) determine, constrain, and fashion what appears as religion?
•How different mediations reflect or define assumptions about history, humanity, and the divine?
The deadline for submission of abstracts is November 15, 2007. Applicants should e-mail a proposal of no more than 800 words to Mark Elmore (firstname.lastname@example.org).
A limited travel stipend will be available for selected presenters.
Please direct any questions to Mark Elmore (email@example.com), or Flagg Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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