RLG305H1 Study Guide - David Freedberg, Bruno Latour, Karl Lagerfeld

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15 Nov 2011
Lecture 1: Introduction to Material Religion:
Implicit to explicit
implicit: the implied meaning, not expressed
explicit: the apparent meaning, fully and clearly expressed or demonstrated meaning
How to study materiality?
Relation between forms of materiality
words vs action, interconnected with lifestyles
what you say vs. what you do
Abhorrence (repulsion) of materiality
religion vs the material
materials as distractions
Material and belief (not vs belief)
central notion of belief
faith moving inward
belief that (propositional belief), belief in (trust in), implies another
Lecture 2: The Sacred Gaze:
David Morgan:
David Freedberg: studies relations between people and images, social engagements and
seeing as a form of practice, seeing needs an apparatus of assumptions we inherit from our
we learn how to see, the sacred gaze provides us with specific framing
sacred gaze: social (religious and cultural) act of looking with spiritual significance; includes
aspects such as the viewer, fellow viewers, subject of viewing, context/setting, rules
surrounding viewing (who can and who can't view it, dress etc)
examples of SG: Jagannath temple: only ethnics allowed to enter, yet the development of the
internet allows anyone to see, extends the sacred gaze, temple vs internet version, how does
religion matter? How do the different types of viewing effect the viewer and their response to
the image
seeing: response and reception
Gordon and Hancock:
-Reidnhard Bonnke, Evangelist who converted millions of Africans to X-tainity,
image/sweeping pans of massive African American crowds model visual ideology
-communicates doctrine, visual experience of divine intervention
-juxtaposition of many to few, allows for one to relate to the individual and their experience,
have one of their own
-branding of this image, to sell their beliefs, reputation, ability to mobilize resources
-how camera phones have led to religious change and redefinition of sacred time and place
-camera phones have allowed tapings of experiences not everyone is privy to attend, having
these images on the phone allow for one re-live the experience over and over and for others to
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see that they actually are
-changes participation when filming due to not fully participating so one can film, transcends
sacred time because you no longer are limited to when an activity is happening but anytime you
whip out your phone
Lecture 3: Making and Breaking of an Image:
iconoclasm: action of attacking or rejecting religious images, established values and/or
practices -viewing negatively charged
idolatry: worship of idols or images
Monotheistic religions worry about the connection between the image and the deity – this is key
when making/destroying
-examples: 2nd commandment: “You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or
any likeness of anything that is in heavens” -concern with replication and
-Qur'an; cannot join partner with god
Turner: 'every symbol has a signifier and a signified' > objects (signifier)
have attached meaning (signified)
iconoclasm is the response to destroy the signifier: could be considered
purifying the meaning or a mediation between the divine and the self, this
can from the belief that the image is more than image and possibly the
the breaking of images could cause a replacement of the image (new
signifier) – image breaking as image makine
-Aniconic: religion without images
-iconophobic: fear of images
-iconoclasm: destroying images, Bruno Latour; types of breaking: smash,
replace, redirect
Iconoclasm examples: Graves: 16th -17th century, attacks on images in
England, destroying the hands and heads, treated as the criminals of the
time were treated, punishment against dangerous matter
Road screen: process of destruction, but still able to see what was once
there, new art produced, making religion matter in a new way
Taliban: destroying of the Buddha: western society sees it as pure
destruction while they don't see it as vandalism because the image held
power over them, therefore liberation
Qur'anic Art & Iconoclasm: George:
examples: Karl Lagerfeld, Jan 1994: Chanel models wearing a dress with
Arabic script, 'they are rightly guided' (taken from their most scared text)
dress was provocative and wording was on her bust -taken as intended to
upset Muslims and provoke violence
-Artist Pirous, 2002: his painting was damaged and has Qur'anic text, found
offensive, he then edited all work to perfection, flawless writing, ethical
pleasure to the viewer – not mutilating art, ethically enhancing
culture vs religion, transcultural intermingling encourages muslims to
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