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Replicating the Holy Land in the U.S. (a ‘Materializing the Bible’ Road Trip)

James S. Bielo analyzes a practice of religious replication: re-creations of Holy Land sites in the United States. Such replications invite visitors into an experience of sensorial and imaginative immersion, marshaling indexical techniques for materializing the Bible. Replicating the Holy Land is a strategy for actualizing the virtual problem of authenticity, a problem that animates any and every lived expression of Christianity. To explore this phenomenon, we indulge another national tradition: the great American road trip. This essay emerges from a larger project, Materializing the Bible, curated by Bielo.

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Sensing Eid al Kabir’s Tactile, Viscous Stickiness: Affect, Embodiment and Material Religion

Rebecca Moody reads Eid al Kabir in Fes, Morocco, through the lens of affect theory. The sights, sounds and smells of Eid yield the circulation of “sticky” affect that, as it touches each participant and observer, in turn renders them sticky and therein “(re)surfaces” their material bodies. Moody argues that affect theory offers a unique approach to the study of material religion, specifically Islam, by combining the materiality of the human body with the “textures” of affect that circulate around Islam in its different, quotidian expressions.

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