Browsing Study of Religions - Journal Articles by Title
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- ItemThe appearance of saints: photographic evidence and religious minorities in the secret police archives in Eastern Europe(Taylor & Francis, 2019-04-20) Kapalό, James A.; European Research Council; Royal Irish Academy; Horizon 2020I present here examples of the photographic presence of a religious minority community in the secret police archives in ex-communist Eastern Europe. The use of secret police archives by researchers to trace the history of repression and collaboration and to understand the methods employed by totalitarian regimes to control their populations is well established. The significance of these archives for the study of material religion, however, has been largely overlooked by scholars. The Secret Police archives in Romania and the Republic of Moldova constitute a hidden repository of confiscated religious materials and photographs which often sit alongside photographic images created by the secret police in the course of their investigations into criminal religious activities. These archives, therefore, represent an important resource for understanding both how religious groups chose to represent themselves and how the totalitarian system created images of religious others in order to incriminate and produce anti-religious propaganda. In this paper, through the presentation of example cases from state security files, I discuss the dual character of the photographic traces of communities in the archives as both religious justification and incrimination, and suggest ways of approaching these images through their materiality in the context of contemporary post-communist society.
- Item“… as the young girl told them so”: Women and Old Calendarism in Interwar Romania(Brill Academic Publishers, 2021-04-16) Cindrea, Iuliana; Horizon 2020; European Research CouncilThis article explores the role of women and young girls in Old Calendarist communities in Romania and presents new sources relating to neglected history of the practice of incarceration in Orthodox monasteries in the region. The community developed into a spiritual mass movement that soon became the target of the secret police. Women played an important role within these communities in terms of membership but also in relation to the preservation of Old Calendarist ideas. Explored through the prism of the former secret police archival documents, these women were deemed dangerous and were accused of luring people into the Old Calendarist groups. In contrast to the extremely negative representation of these women that we find in contemporary Orthodox Church publications, police reports and popular press articles, the letters and postcards that they wrote from detention offer us an insight into the private life, personality and motivation of these women.
- Item'Blood' kinship and kinship in Christ's blood: nomadic evangelism in the Nenets tundra(De Gruyter Open Ltd, 2017) Vagramenko, TatianaThe article addresses a conflicting encounter of two ideologies of kinship, ‘natural’and ‘religious’, among the newly established Evangelical communities of Nenets in the Polar Ural and Yamal tundra. An ideology of Christian kinship, as an outcome of ‘spiritual re-birth’, was introduced through Nenets religious conversion. The article argues that although the born-again experience often turned against ancestral traditions and Nenets traditional kinship ties, the Nenets kinship system became a platform upon which the conversion mechanism was furthered and determined in the Nenets tundra. The article examines missionary initiatives and Nenets religiosity as kin-based activities, the outcome of which was twofold. On one side, it was the realignment of Nenets traditional kinship networks. On other side, it was the indigenisation of the Christian concept of kinship according to native internal cultural logic. Evangelical communities in the tundra were plunged into the traditional practices of Nenets kinship networks, economic exchanges, and marriage alliances. Through negotiation of traditional Nenets kinship and Christian kinship, converted Nenets developed new imaginaries, new forms of exchanges, and even new forms of mobility.iage alliances. Through negotiation of traditional Nenets kinship and Christian kinship, converted Nenets developed new imaginaries, new forms of exchanges, and even new forms of mobility.
- ItemCreating a community of praxis: integrating global citizenship and development education across campus at University College Cork(UCL Press, 2022-12-13) Cotter, Gertrude; Bonenfant, Yvon; Butler, Jenny; Caulfield, Marian; Doyle Prestwich, Barbara; Griffin, Rosarii; Khabbar, Sanaa; Mishra, Nita; Hally, Ruth; Murphy, Margaret; Murphy, Orla; O'Sullivan, Maeve; Phelan, Martha; Reidy, Darren; Schneider, Julia C.; Isaloo, Amin Sharifi; Turner, Brian; Usher, Ruth; Williamson Sinalo, Caroline; Irish AidThe Praxis Project, established at University College Cork (UCC), Ireland, in 2018, seeks to assess possible models of best practice with regard to the integration of global citizenship and development education (GCDE) into a cross-disciplinary, cross-campus, interwoven set of subject area pedagogies, policies and practices. This study – the first part of an eventual three-part framework – asserts that the themes, theories, values, skills, approaches and methodologies relevant to transformative pedagogical work are best underpinned by ongoing staff dialogue in order to build communities of support around such systemic pedagogical change. This article is based on a collaborative study with the first cohort of UCC staff (2020–1), which demonstrates many ways in which staff and students realised that smaller actions and carefully directed attention to specific issues opened doors to transformative thinking and action in surprising ways. From this viewpoint, the striking need emerged for taking a strategic approach to how GCDE is, and should be, integrated into learning across subject areas.
- ItemDal simbolo al rito (passando per il tartan)(Meltemi Press srl, 2021) Padoan, TatsumaIn this article I investigate the relation between symbols and ritual, by contrasting Hobsbawm and Ranger's classical "fabrication" argument in The Invention of Tradition, with Roy Wagner's perspective on "creativity" in The Invention of Culture. In order to do so, I explore different "isotopies" or trails of meaning produced by the tartan kilt, from an "object of value" defining Scottish identity, to a Freemasonry symbol, widely used in ritual and video arts. By discussing Umberto Eco's notion of "symbolic mode" as a textual practice producing new lateral meanings, between tradition and revolution, I will thus advance the argument that ritual too might follow the same dynamics, in a continuous oscillation between continuity and discontinuity, institutional and charismatic power.
- ItemDrawn by images: control, subversion and contamination in the visual discourse of Tokyo metro(Università di Torino, 2014-11) Padoan, TatsumaThis paper intends to investigate the active role of images in shaping contemporary urban life, by exploring the trail of strategies, actions, counteractions and transformations produced by a particular corpus of subway posters. Since September 1974, the Tokyo Metro subway company has been distributing a series of posters which invites, in a humoristic style, to respect the “good manners” inside its stations and trains in service in the Japanese capital. The name assigned to these adverts is Manner Poster. The three editions from 2008 to 2010 are particularly striking for their irony and visual impact. Produced by the graphic designer Yorifuji Bunpei, they depict — in a comic–strip style and using white, black and yellow colours — narrative situations inside the subway stations and trains, where one or more persons perform, under the astonished eyes of the other passengers, actions considered as “ill–mannered”. The images present a large variety of such situations, ranging from occupying priority seats for elderly people and pregnant women, to rushing to board as the doors are closing, from throwing waste tissues on the ground, to blocking entrances with suitcases and backpacks. They actually suggest paradoxical narrative sequences, visual hyperboles which exaggerate actions considered as impolite, trying to emphasize the negative effects on the other passengers. And the messages written above the images do not leave any doubts about the target (Enunciatee) of the posters: “Please do it at home”, says the one above the instant ramen (noodles soup) devourer, “Please do it at the office” says the message over the businessman engaged in writing notes while talking on the phone in the train. According to the author Yorifuji, the messages convey “the repressed frustration of the typical commuter” who is emotionally affected by the impolite behaviour. These posters, in other words, construct a form of subjectivity for the metro passengers, posing everyone under the gaze/judgment of the other commuters, and prescribing situations and places which are appropriated to take specific courses of action. They are “regulators of the social life”, which charge everyday actions with thymic — i.e. positive or negative — values, according to their spatial–temporal localisation. However, the analysis of this “subway etiquette” discourse and of its development along the three editions, reveals a particular linguistic and visual differentiation of identity, which points to models of behaviour and sociality very different between each other, according to the Japanese or foreign origin of the passengers to which the poster’s persuasive action is directed. I will therefore try to demonstrate, on the one hand, how the interactions between poster–actors and human actors try to define distinct regimes of political enunciation (Latour 1999), on the other hand, how parodic translations of the Manner Posters — which immediately proliferated on web–sites and magazines in Japan — also lead to modes of negotiation of the values and social bonds prescribed.
- ItemThe first Buddhist mission to the West: Charles Pfoundes and the London Buddhist mission of 1889 – 1892(British Association for the Study of Religions (BASR), 2014) Bocking, Brian; Cox, Laurence; Yoshinaga, Shin'ichiThis article challenges two general assumptions shared by scholars of Western Buddhism: (1) that the earliest Buddhist missions to the West were those established in California from 1899 onwards; and (2) that Ananda Metteyya‘s (Allan Bennett‘s) London mission of 1908 was the first Buddhist mission to London and thus to Europe. Recent collaborative research by scholars in Ireland and Japan demonstrates instead that the Japanese-sponsored ‗Buddhist Propagation Society‘ (BPS) launched in London in 1889 and led for three years by the Irish-born Japanese Buddhist Charles Pfoundes predates both of the above-mentioned ‗first‘ Buddhist missions. In this article we offer a first attempt to document the nature, activities and significance of the London BPS, drawing on Japanese and UK sources to examine Pfoundes‘ role and that of his Japanese sponsors. We discuss the nature of Pfoundes‘ Buddhism, the strategy and activities of the London BPS and the reasons for its eventual demise. The conclusion examines the links between the BPS and the later ‗first‘ Japanese Buddhist missions in California and asks what hidden connection there might be between Pfoundes‘ missionary campaign in London in 1889-92 and Ananda Metteyya‘s return from Burma as the ‗first‘ Buddhist missionary to London, almost two decades later.
- ItemThe Hand at Work or How the KGB File Leaks in the Exhibition(National Museum of the Romanian Peasant, Bucharest, 2021) Vagramenko, Tatiana; Nicolescu, Gabriela; Horizon 2020; European Research CouncilThe article tells the story of the use and perception of images of violence from an unusual trial against a group of believers, arrested in 1952 in Ukraine. Visitors to an exhibition held in 2019 at the Museum of Art in Cluj-Napoca as part of the Hidden Galleries European Research Council project were invited to look at two sets of photographs: originals and spruced-up copies coming from a recently opened penal file retrieved from the SBU (former KGB) archive in Kiev. Through the reconstruction of the story of the people who suffered the arrest, we attempt to question the use of research ethics and of heritage in relation to retrieving from archives and displaying violent images of the past. What are the attributes and limits of showing? And what can we learn from the hand at work, the process of actively manipulating the image?
- ItemImages of violence against believers in a museum exhibition: The history of one case from the KGB archive(Russian Religious Society, 2021) Vagramenko, Tatiana; Nicolescu, Gabriela; Horizon 2020; European Research CouncilThe article discusses the use and perception of images of state violence in a museum space. It tells the story of an unusual trial against a group of believers, arrested in 1952 in Ukraine and charged as members of the “ecclesiastic-monarchist underground organization” the True Orthodox Church. Images from the group penal file (preserved nowadays at the Archives of the Ukrainian Security Service in Kiev) were displayed at the exhibition held in 2019 at the Museum of Art in Cluj-Napoca. Visitors were invited to look at two sets of photographs: originals and spruced-up copies, both produced by secret police officers. Through the reconstruction of the story of the people on trial, we discuss the role of images of state violence and religious repression in triggering the mechanisms of historical memory. How can we transform recent traumatic past into historical and cultural legacy, while preventing it against unhealthy manipulations? What are the attributes and limits of showing? Suggesting a “thick description” approach towards archival reading and the reconstruction of microhistories we discuss how the images of the “difficult” past can generate different narratives and how they can heal wounds rather than make new ones.
- ItemÎn clandestinitate: minorități religioase nerecunoscute de lege în arhivele Securități(Academiei Române din Tîrgu Mureş, 2019) Șincan, Anca; Horizon 2020; European Research CouncilThe present article discusses the terminology that the repressive state imposes on underground religious communities and the limits these terms impose on the current theoretical language researcher and communities develop for describing the religious life during the communist regime. Based on archival work with CNSAS files and on oral interviews in Greek Catholic and Old Calendarist Orthodox communities the article hypothesizes that three decades after the fall of communism we (researchers and communities alike) are still indebted to the vocabulary used by the Secret Police in the surveillance activity against the religious communities of the underground.
- ItemIntroduction: Visual Ethics after Communism(National Museum of the Romanian Peasant, Bucharest, 2021-11) Crowley, David; Nicolescu, Gabriela; Kapalό, James A.; European Research CouncilThis special issue problematizes the often-uncritical use of images in publications and displays about communism. It poses a number of questions for anthropologists, historians, museologists and others: when does an image or a museum display present itself as problematic and for whom? Under what circumstances is it ethically justifiable to exhibit or publish such images or, conversely, to put images aside, leaving them undisplayed? When do arguments based on “the public good” outweigh the right to personal privacy, individual integrity and cultural patrimony of source communities?
- ItemKGB photography experimentation: Turning religion into organized crime(Slavica Publishers, 2021) Vagramenko, Tatiana; European Research Council; Horizon 2020; European Cooperation in Science and Technology; Irish Research Council
- Item„Légy szíves ezt a levelet elégetni, ha elolvastátok”: vernakuláris vallás a titkosrendőrségi aktákban(Magyar Néprajzi Társaság, 2021-03-26) Hesz, Ágnes; Horizon 2020; European Research Council“Please burn after reading”: vernacular religion in secret police archives: The paper explores to what extent archival materials produced by the secret police in socialist Hungary could be used as sources for the study of vernacular religion. Looking at examples from the Historical Archives of the Hungarian State Security, it argues that when read with critical approach, these documents reveal several aspects of religiosity from an era remarkably scarce in contemporary ethnographic sources. For all their limitations these files reveal the ways in which religious groups and individuals adapted to oppression and developed strategies to deflect the attention of the authorities, but also expressions of spirituality or the position and role religion, churches and their representatives had in a socialist society. By applying the vernacular religious approach to these files we are also able to move away from showing religious subjects simply as the victim of the regime and point instead to their resilience and agency.
- Item"Liminal" orthodoxies on the margins of empire: Twentieth-century "home-grown" religious movements in the Republic of Moldova(Taylor & Francis, 2017-01-20) Kapalό, James A.; European Research Council; Horizon 2020; Royal Irish AcademyIn the 20th century, the Russian Orthodox Church, the Romanian Orthodox Church, and the Soviet atheist state each pursued missions that attempted to transform Moldovans into loyal and trustworthy subjects and to integrate them into new state structures. This article explores the "liminal" character of Moldovan identities forged on the Russian and Romanian borderlands through the prism of Moldova's "home-grown" religious movements. Grassroots movements led by charismatic and "trickster" religious figures "played" with dichotomies of the hidden and the revealed, innovation and tradition, and human and divine, succeeding in transforming the subject positions of whole segments of Moldovan peasant society. The resulting forms of "liminal" Orthodoxy have proved enduring, perpetually critiquing and transgressing canonical norms from the margins and subverting the discourses and narratives that seek to "harmonize" identities and to consolidate nation, state, and church in the Republic of Moldova.
- ItemMethodological notes on visual ethics: ‘Choosing not to reveal’(National Museum of the Romanian Peasant, Bucharest, 2021) Povedák, Kinga; Horizon 2020; European Research Council