With strong interest from an internationally regarded publisher, we seek to put together an edited volume on the topic of material religion followed by a conference held in Singapore on 14 - 16 August 2008. This project, in brief, seeks to (1) trace the different ways in which the divine, in many religious traditions, is manifested in physical, tangible form and (2) to determine the ways in which scholars can effectively appreciate the wider political, social and cultural meanings that are brought to light through the study of material forms of religion.
All sorts of religious objects – from statues, to objects of offering, to architecture, to relics -- manifest the piousness of the faithful, as well as the historical, political or cultural issues of the communities which revere them. The Emerald Buddha in Thailand, the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico, and many Hindu icons are just some examples of how the regard for sacred objects is more than just a matter of aesthetics or museological appreciation. This observation can also be made in faiths where there are proscriptions against the representation of religious personages, for which religiosity is manifested in aniconic form. There is a need for a mode of analysis of material religion that goes beyond the mere identification of their style, provenance and production. What discursive, ethnographic or historical frameworks can we utilise so that we can understand their continued relevance, if not their prohibition, in both global and local contexts?
We call for submissions from scholars from the social sciences and humanities who are concerned with material religion in general.
This may include the study of:
• Religious icons and images
• Amulets and talismans
• Offertory objects
• Sacred relics
• Ritual objects and symbols
• Sacred spaces and architecture
The project is not restricted to any particular religion, area or disciplinary inclination. International contributors to the volume will be invited to Singapore in August 2008 for an International Conference entitled “New Directions in the Study of Material Religion”. This event will be co-hosted by the Religion Cluster of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and the Religion and Globalisation in Asian Contexts Cluster of the Asia Research Institute (ARI), National University of Singapore. Conference travel and accommodation funding may be available for international contributors to the volume.
Please send a title, abstract and short biography to Dr Julius Bautista at firstname.lastname@example.org by 29 February 2008.
Miss Alyson Rozells
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
#10-01 Tower Block,469A Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 259770
Tel: (65) 6516 8787
Fax: (65) 6779 1428
Dr Julius Bautista
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore #10-01 Tower Block,469A Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 259770
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