CfP: international workshop "Mobile Matters of Religion: Devotional Objects in the Early Modern Era", University of Regensburg

Anne Mariss's picture
Call for Papers
April 21, 2022 to April 23, 2022
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Early Modern History and Period Studies, Religious Studies and Theology

Over the past few years, interdisciplinary research has increasingly discussed the meaning and function of sacral and devotional objects in the early modern era. Recent studies on devotional objects are influenced by crosscultural perspectives in religious history, considering the transfer of objects of faith as crucial for changes in early modern cultures of devotion. Simon Ditchfield has even argued that it was the "physical translatability“ of the sacred, i.e. the material transfer of relatively small, portable things and images which allowed for the emergence of a "global Catholicism“. The conference aims at a better understanding of those crosscultural processes in the formation of early modern beliefs by looking at small-scale, portable objects such as rosaries, agni dei, devotional images, and other kinds of mobile artefacts which can be considered a part of the Christian material and visual religion and its local characteristics.

The central aim of the conference is to examine changes in the age of confessionalization by looking at devotional and/or sacral objects, and to think about new approaches to religious history. The conference seeks to bring together scholars from history, religious studies, theology, art history, and anthropology adopting transcultural and transreligious/transconfessional perspectives on the material culture of Catholicism in the early modern era. We especially invite papers dedicated to the discussion of small-scale religious objects and their local appropriations and transformations. While our primary focus is on the material culture of Catholicism, we are also interested in the intersections with other confessions (Lutheran, Calvinist, Orthodox etc.) and other religions such as Islam, Buddhism, and indigenous religious cultures in the early modern era. The question of how objects underwent a material, social, religious/confessional, cultural, and/or economic transformation in their use or (non-use) is likewise of especial interest, as well as insights into the actors and networks who facilitated or impeded the mobility of religious objects and/or raw materials that were worked into devotional objects.

The conference is designed to question current notions of early modern beliefs, and to think about theoretical concepts of "material religion“. It will allow for new insights into the history of Catholicism by focusing on the mobility of religious objects and the aesthetic, material, and sensory practices of religion. We are planning for a two-day event with scholars from abroad and Europe. Expenses for travel and accommodation will be reimbursed.

Please send in abstracts of around 300 words accompanied by a short biographical notice by 15.11.2021 to:

Contact Info: 

Dr. Anne Mariss

University of Regensburg
Department of History
Universitätsstrasse 31
93053 Regensburg