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Essays are narratives of varying lengths that engage in extended analysis of multiple images, objects, monuments, buildings, or spaces.

Volume 5: Issue 2 Material Religion of High Altitude Ecologies

Guest edited by Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa and Kalzang Dorjee Bhutia in collaboration with MAVCOR Journal Editor Emily C. Floyd. The call for papers for this special issue invited scholars coming from diverse disciplines (religious studies, anthropology, archaeology, history of art, visual studies, etc) and working across a range of high altitude ecologies, from the Andes to the Himalayas and beyond, to consider how the specificities of these regions impact material and visual aspects of religious practice. We have published Bhutia's essay, which helped inspired the idea for this special issue, in advance of the rest of the articles as a sneak peak of what is to come.

  • Kalzang Dorjee Bhutia
    The Riwo Sangchö is a ritual exchange that facilitates smoky relations between humans and spirits resident in landscapes around the world. Its history, as inspired by the landscape of Sikkim, provides insight into the complex materiality (and, at times, immateriality) of Sikkimese religion and ways that Sikkimese Buddhist communities have historically negotiated environmental change. The resilience of the practice today points to an alternative way of conceiving of multispecies interaction in the Anthropocene and historically contextualized directions for making new opportunities that benefit beings across dimensions.
Volume 5: Issue 1
  • Beverly Lemire
    The look and shape, feel and function of the tobacco pipe footnote the transformational features of the early modern Atlantic world: landscapes of exchange. This article focuses on the multiple iterations of the pipe within the wider Atlantic basin arising from Indigenous forms, media that came to define this period, its solitary reveries and diverse sociabilities, systems of power, and deft resistances. The pipe, as the preeminent tobacco technology, reshaped Europe and its Atlantic colonies, materially and culturally, in diverse and quotidian ways. Feeding these pipes initiated critical new habits and processes, defining regions and peoples.
  • Allison Caplan
    As understood from two closely related versions in Books 10 and 11 of the Florentine Codex, a narrative describing interactions between a human knower, sun, and precious stones enables a new interpretation of Nahua accounts of precious stones releasing vapors, while also providing greater insight into the nature of sensory experience in Nahua thought more generally. Attention to the larger narrative suggests that the episode situates descriptions of stones releasing gasses within a larger theory of the role of sensation in forming a sphere of social interaction.
  • Marie W. Dallam
    What happens when part of the religious history a person believes in turns out to be incorrect? A dissonance is created that must be addressed through new interpretations of past, present, and possibly the future. This article explores early indicators of a reinvented "chain of memory" unfolding in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—a faith that is itself grounded in a concept of historical restoration—due to a new public understanding of its history of polygamy. Specifically, it considers the example of contemporary visual art that interrogates and rearticulates memories of historical Mormon polygamy as one link in this new chain.
Volume 3: Issue 2 Material and Visual Cultures of Religion in the American South

This special joint issue is published with The Journal of Southern Religion (JSR). The journals issued a call for papers together in 2017 and are pleased to publish these four peer-reviewed articles, two editorial introductions, and one editorial reflection. In his editorial reflection, Bill Ferris considers his own history with southern religion and material culture. Jason Young and Louis P. Nelson offer introductions for the four articles, with additional reflection on the state of the field.

Volume 3: Issue 1
Volume 2: Issue 1
  • Sally M. Promey
    Obey God and Live (Vision of Heaven) is Elijah Pierce’s personal conversion narrative. In this piece of wood he depicted the definitive episode of his own spiritual autobiography, an event in his past that he understood to (re)organize, interpret, and frame his entire life.
Volume 1: Issue 1
  • Suzanne Glover Lindsay
    This American monument may even present an understudied alternative vision of the afterlife—one incorporating an intermediate phase just after death—that runs through nineteenth-century Protestant and Anglo-Episcopal sources.
Conversations

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.