April 14 “Contemporary Christian Material Culture: An Analysis of Religious Objects” – Hector Varela-Rios

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015, 12:00-1:20pm (Pick Hall Lounge):
“Contemporary Christian Material Culture – ‘Constellation’: A Descriptive Analysis of Religious Artifacts from University of Chicago students” – Hector Varela-Rios.

This paper analyzes a series of Christian religious artifacts owned by University of Chicago students: a wall-hanging crucifix, a Holy Face icon, a few rosaries, a holy card, and a Holy Family statue. Using David Morgan’s typology of belief and Henry Glassie’s typology of context, I examine how the artifacts display a specific, and very personal, disposition of being religious by the owners. I argue that the discursive relationship between owner and artifact is facilitated by both “being-religious” and the artifact’s materiality.

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