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

Volume 6: Issue 2 Material Islam

A special issue guest edited by Kambiz GhaneaBassiri and Anna Bigelow. 

  • Anna Bigelow and Kambiz GhaneaBassiri
    Anna Bigelow and Kambiz GhaneaBassiri introduce this special issue of MAVCOR Journal devoted to Material Islam. It explores devotional objects, the Islamic sensorium, the book as a material object, the Muslim body, and the various roles of the mosque as a social, political, and spiritual space. Taken together, its varied essays demonstrate an incredibly wide-ranging, rich, and exciting arena of study.
  • Ayodeji Ogunnaike
    This article examines the genealogy of Afro-Brazilian mosques, answering some of the most immediate and puzzling questions that they force all who see them to ask. The answers to these questions demonstrate the fluidity of categories such as European, African, Islamic, and Christian, and how West African Muslims effectively drew on an architectural vocabulary with connections to three continents to forge an emergent cosmopolitan identity.
  • Anna Bigelow
    In exploring the multiple modalities of Muslim belonging and unbelonging in India, the arenas in which Muslims and non-Muslims interact, especially at shared holy places, are extremely illuminating locales. This essay explores the ways in which material and somatic forms of interreligious encounter at a Sufi dargah (درگاہ), or tomb shrine, in Bengalaru (Bangalore) exemplify everyday as well as spectacular practices of shared piety that also reimagine the possibility of collective belonging in a time of precarity.
  • Ali Karjoo-Ravary
    This article traces a fourteenth-century Persian history from Anatolia, Bazm wa Razm (Feasting and Fighting), written by ʿAzīz al-Dīn Astarābādī, from its presentation copy to its various recensions down to the modern period, examining how each era visually refigures this textual manifestation of its original patron, Burhān al-Dīn Aḥmad (r. 783-800 AH/1381-1398 CE), for a new purpose.
  • Nathan Hofer
    Ubiquitous across the medieval Islamic world, khalwa is the practice of self-isolation, typically in a small cell, in order to focus on pious devotions. This article offers one possible approach to theorizing the heterogenous elements of khalwa coherently by insisting that we take the material and the social as seriously as we do the human and the spiritual.
Volume 6: Issue 1
  • Olaya Sanfuentes
    Embracing the belief that the humblest of individuals participated in Jesus’s birth with their presence and their gifts alongside the wisest, Christians of every era have wished to display their own participation and contribution to this foundational Christian event. This article describes the ways in which a traditional, rural-inspired society like that of Santiago, Chile at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries expressed itself through its nativity scenes.
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. This special issue is published on a rolling basis.

Volume 5: Issue 1
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: 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.