Weather as a Spiritual Event: In 2012 Hurricane Sandy devastated New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, and, more recently, in May 2013, Moore, a suburb of Oklahoma City, was destroyed by a tornado. When interviewed, survivors often interpret these weather events in religious terms. In the midst of chaotic destruction, people express a faith in God; in the aftermath, people who have lost their homes, property and, in some cases, loved ones explain that the help they have received from others is a spiritual blessing.
The area seeks abstracts and panels that explore the interpretation of weather events as spiritual acts. Weather phenomena—like hurricanes and tornadoes—are ripe for religiously allegorical interpretations (this is blessing from God, this is a warning from God, this is God’s punishment, and so on). What factors determine how a weather event will be interpreted? Ancient religious texts describe and interpret weather phenomena; how do those ancient accounts compare and contrast to current portrayals of weather events? Does contemporary, popular media forums influence how weather is interpreted? How are weather events symbolically utilized and explained in contemporary, popular media (literature, television, film, and so on)? How do secular explanations of the weather compare and contrast to religious interpretations? Proposals can explore the aforementioned questions; however, proposals can also engage with any aspect of weather and its possible connection to religious understanding. Proposals about any religious tradition from any point in history will be considered.
If there any questions please contact the area co-chairs, Anthony Zias and Pam Detrixhe, by clicking the “Contract area chairs” button on the Religion and Popular Culture page on the MAPACA website. Visit the website at http://mapaca.net
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