Conversations: An Online Journal of the Center for the Study of Material and Visual Cultures of Religion

MAVCOR began publishing Conversations: An Online Journal of the Center for the Study of Material and Visual Cultures of Religion in 2014. In 2017 we selected a new name, MAVCOR Journal. Articles published prior to 2017 are considered part of Conversations and are listed as such under Volumes in the MAVCOR Journal menu.

Essays Jamestown’s Relics: Sacred Presence in the English New World Christopher M. B. Allison

A remarkable reliquary helps us imagine new possibilities around the earliest English settlement in North America.

Object Narratives An American Sufi Shrine, Bawa’s Mazar in Coatesville, Pennsylvania M. Shobhana Xavier

An ethnically and religiously diverse spiritual community near Philadelphia founded by a Tamil teacher from Sri Lanka.

Object Narratives From Illuminated Rumi to the Green Barn: The Art of Sufism in America M. Shobhana Xavier

The role material culture has played in the introduction of non-Christian forms of spirituality into the United States as examined through Sufi art.

Medium Studies Tears of the Sun: The Naturalistic and Anthropomorphic in Inca Metalwork Emily C. Floyd

Why did the Inca approach metal so differently from other sculptural media, most notably stone?

Mediations Making Crosses, Crossing Borders: The Performance of Mourning, the Power of Ghosts, and the Politics of Countermemory in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands Barbara Sostaita

If the land “was Mexican once and Indian always,” migrants are not outsiders or “illegals.” They—we—belong to the land.

Conversations Interview with American Sufi Artist Michael Green Interviewed by M. Shobhana Xavier

A follower of Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, Green is based in Pennsylvania and is best known for his illustrations in The Illuminated Rumi (1997).

img Collections Painting Beyond the Frame: Religious Murals of Colonial Peru Ananda Cohen Suarez

With the Spanish invasion and colonization of Peru in the 1530s, the visual arts played an integral role in the religious indoctrination of indigenous and Afro-descendant communities to Catholicism. Mural painting in particular became a favored medium in early evangelization efforts because of its relatively low cost and shorter execution time in comparison to multimedia pieces such as retablos (altarpieces) and polychrome sculptures.

Object Narratives Virtual Meditation Cushion (Zafu) Gregory Price Grieve

What does a virtual meditation cushion tell us about material and visual cultures of religion?

Essays Julian Voss-Andreae, Angel of the West Jonathan Schorsch

The power to protect against “nature” now dwells in the human scientific-technological skills mastered by a certain culture, whose prowess enables it to discover these new (meta)physical angels and harness their powers.

Mediations Material Establishment and Public Display Sally M. Promey

The cultural politics of space has to do not simply with space itself, but with how it is occupied, enacted, performed, and marked—and sometimes, in Hawaiʻi and elsewhere, at least apparently unmarked.

Object Narratives Ex-Votos, Shrine of St. Roch, New Orleans Stephanie Bilinksy

Ex-votos at the Shrine of St. Roch occupy a complex place within conceptions of New Orleans as the subject of Protestant fascination with exoticized material aspects of Catholic practice.

Medium Studies Printing the Body of Christ on Fabric Suzanne Karr Schmidt

While most Renaissance and Baroque engravings, etchings, and woodcuts were printed on paper, some extraordinary impressions were produced on silk or linen. Contact relics provided a devotional inspiration for the most evocative of these prints on fabric.