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Image, Word, Music: an Art Debate on Religious Mediation

A Symposium at the Sainsbury Research Unit for the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas
University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
6 – 7 Nov 2009

Convened by Dr Aristóteles Barcelos Neto, of the Sainsbury Research Unit.

Discussant: Dr Matthew Engelke, London School of Economics and Political Science

The aim of this symposium was to create a dialogue at the crossroads of art and religion. The last major contribution on mediation (Latour & Weibel, 2002) was mainly focused on the properties of images. It would be an interesting challenge to broaden this debate by including music, poetry, text and body art. The symposium focused on topics such as the immanence of image and objects, the denial of religious mediation, electronic music in indigenous churches, sacrifice, spirit possession in Evangelical cults, iconoclasm and so forth. The explosion of the "religions of the Word" in Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific brings new challenges to the historic and ethnographic understanding of what an image is and what it means when native peoples decide to abandon or to hide them.

Programme

Day 1 – Friday 6 November
Elizabeth Fry building, room 01.02

13:00

Registration and welcome

14:00

Presentation

14:10

Prof John Mack, University of East Anglia
Spirits without passports: possession in Africa and cosmopolitan contexts

14:55

Prof Sandy Heslop, University of East Anglia
The Lollard 'heresy' in late medieval England and the denial of   mediation

15:40

Coffee break at Elizabeth Fry building entrance hall

16:10

Dr Margit Thøfner, University of East Anglia
Protestant visions: images and music in the early modern Lutheran Church

16:55

Dr Suzel Reily, Queen's University Belfast
Local music making and the liturgical renovation in Minas Gerais, Brazil

17:40

Debate lead by Dr Matthew Engelke, London School of Economics and Political Science

18:30

Drinks reception at the School of World Art Studies and Museology

19:30

Dinner at Vista, University Plain


Day 2 – Saturday 7 November
Elizabeth Fry building, room 01.02

09:20

Prof Joel Robbins, University of Califonia, San Diego
Keeping God's Distance: Sacrifice, Possession, and the Problem of Religious Mediation

10:05

Dr Aristoteles Barcelos Neto, University of East Anglia
‘What is religion? It is to adore images’: re-inventing idolatry as alterity process in Catholic Peru

10:50

Coffee break at Elizabeth Fry building entrance hall

11:20

Prof Beth Conklin, Vanderbilt University, Nashville
Sing our body electric: electronic church music as experimental space for emerging indigenous empowerment in Latin America

12:05

Debate lead by Dr Matthew Engelke, London School of Economics and Political Science

13:00

Lunch at the School of World Art Studies and Museology