Material Religion

NOTE: This page is oriented toward preservation of the materials associated with a CONTENTdm collection created for LIS 644: Digital Libraries with Dr. Nora J. Bird and J. David Gwynn, from February and April 2016. Since access to these collections is password protected, and as the pages for the UNC-Greensboro course are recycled for use by other students, the original collection is partially recreated for the purposes of portfolio documentation. Plus, why not?


About the Collection

This is a collection that documents examples from the field devoted to the study of “material religion,” proponents of which, according to the journal Material Religion: The Journal of Objects Art and Belief,

 “… explore how religion happens in material culture – images, devotional and liturgical objects, architecture and sacred space, works of arts and mass-produced artifacts. No less important than these material forms are the many different practices that put them to work. Ritual, communication, ceremony, instruction, meditation, propaganda, pilgrimage, display, magic, liturgy and interpretation constitute many of the practices whereby religious material culture constructs the worlds of belief.”

In other words, these examples are not idealist or abstract, but objects and embodied examples of religion in the material world. The reason for this approach to religion studies, which emerged in part from the so-called “ethnographic turn” in religion studies in the late 2oth century and early 21st century, is further explained by Duke University Professor of Religion David Morgan in this podcast for the Religious Studies Project.

To view the items in the Material Religion collection by subject, see the links in the “Pages” menu to the right for Material Religion collection, or click the links below to access collection by subject: