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MAVCOR Journal is an open access born-digital, double blind peer-reviewed journal dedicated to promoting conversation about material and visual cultures of religion. Published by the Center for the Study of Material and Visual Cultures of Religion at Yale University and reviewed by members of our distinguished Editorial Board and other experts, MAVCOR Journal encourages contributors to think deeply about the objects, performances, sounds, and digital experiences that have framed and continue to frame human engagement with religion broadly understood across diverse cultures, regions, traditions, and historical periods.

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.

  • William R. Ferris
    Described by Flannery O’Connor as “Christ-haunted,” southern identity is and always has been shaped by religion. The still familiar sight of churches and hand-painted religious signs along highways and roads are powerful reminders of religion throughout the region. As the field of Southern Studies has evolved, so has our understanding of religion and its expression in material and visual culture in the region.
  • Louis P. Nelson
    This joint edition of MAVCOR Journal and the Journal of Southern Religion has focused needed attention on the ways that visual and material cultures have played and continue to play a critical role in shaping religious belief and practice in the American South. The very kind offer by the editors to write an editorial introduction to the edition encouraged me to reflect a bit more deeply on the trajectories of recent scholarship and some of the holes I see in the current historiography.
  • Jason R. Young
    Though often perceived as an arena of human life devoted exclusively to the ethereal, the actual practice of religion, not to mention our study of it, is mediated through the material circumstances of life.
  • Samuel Stella
    The simple, gable-end church form was suited to the material circumstances and to the socio-theological climate of the Second Great Awakening. Gable-end churches provided an affective and sensorial locus for newly created communities to position themselves as extensions of an evangelical Protestant national consciousness.
  • Interior nave and chancel of St. John in-the-Prairies Episcopal Church
    Emily H. Wright
    The movement to build and furnish new churches in the Antebellum South was not the moment of Protestant women’s religious domestication, but rather an opportunity for a new type of public stewardship of the church, one that encouraged female collective action. Women expressed their piety and leadership in the church by enhancing its materiality, they gave their churches permanence and social status.
  • Sarah “Moxy” Moczygemba
    In a large pasture in West Texas, thirty-five men and women sit mounted on horseback and forty more stand around them. Sitting astride a horse in front of them is their pastor, next to another man holding a large American flag. He reads to them from the Bible of the wondrous changes brought by the Lord and then invites them to church the next day. With this simple invocation, the pasture roping at the local cowboy church is now underway.
  • A blond girl reads to a black man in an outdoor setting
    Edward J. Blum
    Stowe’s deployments of bibles and artistic representations of them in illustrated editions offered a conservative abolitionism that emphasized the potential for peace among former slaves and masters. . . . bibles in the afterlives of Uncle Tom’s Cabin continued to offer moderation when it came to issues of race and racial interactions.
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.
  • Esther Kersley
    This series of images, taken over the course of six months, documents the street altars dotted around Mexico’s dense, urbanized capital, home to over twenty-one million people.
  • Laura S. Levitt
    In The Resolution of the Suspect, photographer Miki Kratsman builds on the reliquary nature and the transitive qualities of the carte-de-visite, creating a diptych: the historic image on one page of the centerfold and his own photograph of the bloody garment of a single unnamed Palestinian martyr on the other.
  • Jeffrey Richmond-Moll
    In 1929, on her first visit to New Mexico, the American artist Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) observed the animate potential of the region’s religious material culture.
Volume 1: Issue 1
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.

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