Summer Seminar | Material Religion in Early America

Posted in graduate students, on site, opportunities by Editor on April 9, 2023

From the American Antiquarian Society:

Material Religion: Objects, Images, Books
2023 CHAViC-PHBAC Summer Seminar
American Antiquarian Society, Worcester‭, ‬Massachusetts‭, 25–30 June 2023

Led by Christopher Allison and Sonia Hazard

Applications due by 17 April 2023

Scholars of religion have taken a material turn, delving into the study of images, objects, monuments, buildings, books, spaces, performances, and sounds. What do these inquiries look like in the context of early America, and how did religious materialities shape early American worlds? The goal of this seminar is to explore this area’s exciting archives, theories, and methods, enabling participants to bring together religion and materiality in their own work in fresh ways.

The American Antiquarian Society provides an exceptional site for hands-on inquiries into the material worlds of early American religions. Collections at AAS furnish materials relating to religion before 1900 in North America, including Islam, Judaism, Mormonism, Catholicism, Protestantism, metaphysical religions, African-inspired religions, South Asian religions, and civil religion as well as collections that support studying religious hybridity and forms of Christianity as practiced in Hawaiian, Caribbean, and Indigenous nations and groups.

Topics will include lived religion, materialisms (old and new), sensory culture, books as objects, animisms and animacies, iconoclasm, visual piety, the ontological turn, residual transcription, and sacred objects in archival contexts. ‬The seminar will be held from Sunday‭, ‬June 25‭, ‬through Friday‭, ‬June 30‭, ‬2023‭, ‬at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester‭, ‬Massachusetts‭. ‬Co-leaders for the seminar will be Chris Allison and Sonia Hazard. ‬Guest speakers will include Solimar Otero‭‭, Professor of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, Indiana University, Bloomington and Anthony Trujillo, doctoral candidate in American Studies, Harvard University.

Participation is intended for faculty, museum and library professionals, and graduate students. It welcomes researchers across fields such as art history, religious studies, history, anthropology, American studies, music, and literature. It is co-sponsored by the Center for Historic American Visual Culture (CHAViC) and the Program in the History of the Book in American Culture (PHBAC).

The format of the seminar will be select readings, highly interactive seminar discussion, collections explorations and archival sessions, individual research time with the collection, and site visits to notable collections and religious sites in the area, including the Worcester Art Museum, burial grounds, and sacred sites. The syllabus is available online. Information on access to the readings will be emailed to students.

Tuition for the seminar is $600, which includes lunch each day and some evening meals. Some financial aid is available for graduate students. The cost of housing is not included in the tuition fee. Housing is available at two nearby hotels.

Sonia Hazard is Assistant Professor of Religion at Florida State University. Her book, Building Evangelical America: How the American Tract Society Laid the Groundwork for a Religious Revolution, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. She did her graduate work at Harvard Divinity School and Duke University.
Christopher Allison is Director of the McGreal Center for Dominican Historical Studies, Department of History, Dominican University. He is the author of the forthcoming book, Protestant Relics: Capturing the Sacred Body in Early America, under contract with the University of Chicago Press. He did his graduate work at Yale Divinity School and Harvard University.

Guest Speakers
Solimar Otero is Professor of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University, Bloomington. She is the author of Archives of Conjure: Stories of the Dead in Afrolatinx Cultures (Columbia University Press, 2020).
Anthony Trujillo is a doctoral candidate in American Studies at Harvard University. He works at the confluence of Native American and Indigenous studies, history, religious studies, anthropology, and the arts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: