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This chapter considers more popular and experiential receptions of the Bible, in its various canonical and material manifestations, in faith communities. It examines communal engagement with biblical texts in liturgy and prayer, actualizations of the Bible in the praxis of believers and faith communities, and how the Bible functions in ecumenical dialogue and in wider interfaith conversations.
Chapter 2 explores the circulation of masculinity through the lens of friendship and sensory rhetoric. Coordinating the language of Christian fellowship and classical friendship, the Cappadocians involved correspondents in an aesthetic based on a union of souls. Using imagery of the body to express affinity of soul, the Cappadocians engaged correspondents in an agōn predicated on mutual faith and/or shared manhood. These letters of affection mimicked the language of contest with the Cappadocians choreographing encounters based on reciprocal seeing, speaking/hearing, and touching. In portraying union of souls through corporeal imagination, the Cappadocians reordered the bodily senses as masculine. These friendships were reinforced through the care taken in the penmanship of the letters and careful selection of messengers, elements that reflected the performative nature of correspondence. And through framing correspondence as a form of gift-giving, the Cappadocians further underscored friendship and Christian fellowship as elements of masculinity rooted in the traditions of classical Greece.
Before the 1915 Genocide of Ottoman Armenians, the region of Van, in contemporary southeastern Turkey, held hundreds of active Armenian churches and monasteries. After the destruction of the Armenian community, these ruined structures took on new afterlives as they became part of the evolving environments and communities around them. These ruined spaces play a role in the everyday lives of the people who live among them and shape their historical understandings and relationships with the local history and geography. I interrogate the afterlives of one abandoned monastery and examine how local Kurds imagine, narrate, and enact the politics of the past and the present through that space of material ruin. I demonstrate how the history of the Armenian Genocide and ongoing state violence against the Kurdish community are intricately linked, highlight the continuation of violence over the past century, and deconstruct notions of ahistorical victims and perpetrators. This article builds on a critical approach to ruins as it traces how histories of destruction and spaces of material ruin are revisited and reinterpreted by those whose lives continue to be shaped by processes of ruination. It demonstrates how ruins created through violent histories become spaces for articulating alternative senses of history and crafting possible futures.
Authority in Islam is often understood to operate as a site of negotiation. Based on textual analysis and ethnographic research, this article examines three case studies of disparate Shi'i Sufi Orders where a willing deferral of certain types of authority exists. In the first case study, the Soltanalishahi Order refer their members to an outside mujtahid for all matters relating to the shariat, therein limiting the powers of their shaykhs and qotb. The second case study looks at debates concerning the nature of the qotb's authority within a single order, particularly as it pertains to the power of touch and transmissibility of blessing (barakat) from qotb to object to person, with the order's leadership refuting the idea of charismatic embodied authority despite some of their lay members’ beliefs. Finally, the third case study addresses a group who refute the need for any centralized leadership at all and instead recognize and read the works of multiple qotbs from disparate Iranian orders. By focusing on the deferral of authority, as a type of editing, as a type of shaping, I hope to show that the refuting of certain duties is just as formative as the amassing of powers.
What have been the meanings and meaningfulness of pleasure in Yorùbá thought, practice, and history over the past eight hundred years? Ogundiran draws from literary, archaeological, myth-historical, and ethnographic sources to answer this question in two parts. First, he examines the ontologies, materiality, and sociality of pleasure at the levels of ordinary experience and institutional culture. Second, he demonstrates how pleasurable experiences and things were used to construct social order, define social difference, and build community. Ogundiran concludes that pleasure is not an autonomous experience. Rather, it is embedded in other domains of social life.
This chapter examines a series of teapots, produced in the 1760s, whose material and decorative contradictions prompted questions about scale, knowledge, and mortality. By examining these different registers, the chapter reveals the diverse roles these diminutive and densely patterned teapots played in the cultural and social life of eighteenth-century Britain. The designs featured on these teapots sought to represent rock formations and fossils. In a culture increasingly interested in the emerging discipline of geology and the history of the earth, such designs prompted important conversations. At the same time, the materiality of these wares, which was both highly breakable and durable, allowed for questions about material knowledge. The material qualities also asked about the nature of human lives and mortality. Ceramics could be bequeathed over generations and broken in an instant. Finally, the function of these pots and their role in tea drinking, meant that these objects were constantly handled and made animate. The form of these wares was unusual, however, and their discordant features highlighted the “otherness” of objects. In exploring the different decorative, material, and functional aspects of these pots, the chapter shows how relatively small things were particularly adept at asking big questions.
Chapter 5 focuses on the most frequent ways in which the orthographic elements established in the previous chapter are organised, following segmental, suprasegmental and morphological structures. Examples include the interrelation between graphemes and other orthographic units, like tildes and accents; the recurrence of graphemes in frequently recurring clusters and the use of ligatures across orthographic units. A short section on the importance of direction (left-to-right, right-to-left, top-to-bottom, etc.) in historical orthography is also provided. The chapter also focuses on the overlap between orthographic structure and the visual aspect of a document, namely the ways in which writing participates in the mise-en-page. This section argues for the importance of a full, physical document as a considerable part of the overall communicative event that is orthography. The visual programme in a given text, namely its layout, decoration and illustration, usually acts as a cohesive and structural tool alongside written marks, such as chapter headings or meta-textual commentary. Lastly, spacing, justification and abbreviation are also discussed.
Looking at the migration management policies at Europe’s external Aegean border, this article examines how and why infrastructures of protection come to function as technologies of border violence. The repurposing of rescue rafts for extreme border violence in the Aegean Sea reveals a little-examined dark side of European ‘migration management’ as a process purportedly aimed to ‘civilize’ Greek coastguard operations. In transforming life-saving materials into life-threatening ones, patterns of border violence tell an alarming story about the relationship between law, politics, and the materiality of physical objects: absent concrete political and moral commitments to international protection, rescue’s physical infrastructure has been weaponized. The weaponized life raft further challenges the assumptions underpinning European ‘migration management’: the idea that technocratic solutions can fix structural injustices, or that ‘neutral assistance can ensure human rights compliance. The case study thus demonstrates the incompatibility of managerialism with human rights protection in the context of contemporary migration.
This volume is the first to consider the golden century of Gothic ivory sculpture (1230-1330) in its material, theological, and artistic contexts. Providing a range of new sources and interpretations, Sarah Guérin charts the progressive development and deepening of material resonances expressed in these small-scale carvings. Guérin traces the journey of ivory tusks, from the intercontinental trade routes that delivered ivory tusks to northern Europe, to the workbenches of specialist artisans in medieval Paris, and, ultimately, the altars and private chapels in which these objects were venerated. She also studies the rich social lives and uses of a diverse range of art works fashioned from ivory, including standalone statuettes, diptychs, tabernacles, and altarpieces. Offering new insights into the resonances that ivory sculpture held for their makers and viewers, Guérin's study contributes to our understanding of the history of materials, craft, and later medieval devotional practices.
The thesis of this book is that securities fraud became a threat to the integrity of public companies as markets increasingly valued them based on projections of their future earnings. It became important for companies to consistently validate prior forecasts of their profitability to maintain their stock price. This created a systemic incentive for corporate managers to manipulate market perceptions of their company’s earnings potential. The Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002 (Sarbanes–Oxley) was an attempt to address this incentive by requiring all public companies to invest in measures that prevent financial misstatements. The law governing Rule 10b-5 developed as private investors and the SEC increasingly scrutinized whether misleading corporate narratives of the future were motivated by fraudulent intent.
The Classical house can be understood also as a set of interactions between people, objects and valuable commodities that existed within and extended beyond the physical and temporal confines of the house. This chapter concerns ceramic oil jars, lekythoi, that date to the early 5th century BCE. It is argued that the small black-figured lekythoi, which were prolifically produced and widely traded during this time, may have held olive oil, not just perfume. The materiality of these pots and archaeological evidence from settlements, graves and other find-spots suggest that lekythoi could have functioned as oil pitchers to serve small portions of olive oil, perhaps of family production. Vase iconography indicates that such lekythoi were objects within easy reach, to be used on diverse occasions, such as dining, ritual and commercial activities. The offering of lekythoi in burials, irrespective of the presence of contents, could have alluded to the storage of olive oil in the household of the deceased and communicated a powerful message about a family’s claims to status, real or fictitious.
This article investigates the international genre of “retro” and how it is used in Hungary to re-matter the nation’s modern past, repositioning the country within a twentieth-century European history where it was never cut off by an “Iron Curtain” from the modern West. It does this by selecting for modern consumer goods and popular culture from both East and West that fit international criteria for retro. For both young and old, retro “matters” the past in a way that affirms contemporary market sensibilities, infusing it with value through assertions of market equivalence in the past and new value as commodities in the present. If Hungarian Retro works as a form of nostalgia for some, it is for an era of perceived national prestige, value, and economic sovereignty relative to the demoralized present. While distinct from right-wing nationalist politics, Hungarian Retro nonetheless shares in the project of erasing a stigmatized state socialism from national history. This article builds on scholarship on the role of the material in producing the nation in everyday life. It contributes a perspective that brings together: (a) the domestication of international commercial and popular trends; (b) the global hierarchy of prestige based on national exports and imports; and (c) the constitution of value in citizens via the qualities of consumer goods both produced and consumed.
Material culture “represents” and “re-presents” people, places, other objects, taste, soundscapes, etc., in meaningful ways. Some forms of material culture exist specifically to represent or re-present; other forms involve representation more or less across time and over space and cultures. This chapter surveys how scholars from diverse backgrounds have treated “representation” and “re-presentation” in and of material culture, with a focus on literary representations.
This chapter on engagement and authority explores the role of material culture in negotiations of power, in gifting, as regulatory tools, and as modes or tools of empowerment and connection or conversely, dispossession and exclusion. The chapter is inspired and informed by the author’s work on heritage projects in South America.
How does conflict (both enacted and potential) change, shape, destroy and otherwise modify and affect material culture? In addition to these questions, this chapter examines how “things” can act as propaganda, as mechanisms of survival, and as creations of the destabilizing and stabilizing effects of war, peace, and the gray area in between. As scholars increasingly interrogate the meaning and chronology of war, peace, occupation, and the definition of categories such as refugee, how do they incorporate material culture?
How is the material world affected by place? How does an urban, suburban, or rural environment shape spaces, the built environment, and the form and use of objects? Why does this matter? This chapter explores siting and location as important factors in understanding the material world. The chapter also addresses the concepts of non-place and repulsive places.
The study of materiality and religion incorporates spaces, equipment, dress, and other material expressions of belief. The study of material religion and spirituality has taken a truly interdisciplinary turn in scholarship and this chapter explores currents in scholarship that embrace a material approach to understanding lived religion, organized practices, as well as religious opposition and conflict.
Schools, hospitals, prisons, and other institutions shape physical experiences and act as organizational entities for many material endeavors. This chapter examines how institutions shape how we interact with material worlds.
In the context of globalization, post-modernity and transnationalism, identity, for most people, is no longer securely located in specific material environments. Yet the desire to 'ground' identity in place by acting in and on the material world remains, even as people shift between multiple locations. This chapter focuses considerson the materiality of identity, and on the relationship between agency, identity and place. It focuses particularly on place-based communities, for whom this relationship is fundamental, and who therefore exemplify the centrality of place in composing identity.
This chapter introduces readers to conceptions of matter and materiality that shape current conversations in material culture studies, sensitive to the rise of object biographies, commodity histories, fetishism, the new materialism, and the “multispecies” or “ontological” turn in anthropology.