Religion in Museums

When museums and religion collide

Leave a comment

Call to Review Cambridge Exhibition


Attr. Giovanni di Nicola di Manzoni dal Colle, Inkstand with The Nativity, c.1510 © The Fitzwilliam Museum

Have you visited the Madonnas & Miracles exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge?

The editors of Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art and Belief are looking to include a review of the exhibition in a forthcoming issue.

If you would like to submit, please visit the Journal’s website.

The exhibition is running until 4 June 2017 in the Adeane & Mellon galleries (free admission).


Leave a comment

Calls closing soon

Here are a few calls for papers / applications closing this month.

Call for Papers for the Special Issue on Installing Islamic Art: Interior Space and Temporal Imagination (thematic volume planned for Summer 2018)
Proposal deadline: 31 January 2017

This special issue of the International Journal of Islamic Architecture invites papers that explore the history, culture and politics of the interior space in the field of Islamic art and architecture from the eighteenth century to the present, as well as to those that extend discussion into the future. Preference is given to topics dealing with global trends, covering a wide area of the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, but new approaches to the installation of Islamic art in well-established Euro-American museums would be welcome as well. Read more about the call.

On a related note, in February Manchester University will hold a conference on exhibiting Islamic Art, entitled “From Malacca to Manchester: Curating Islamic Collections Worldwide” (Call now passed)

Call for Papers: Material and Sensory Cultures of Religion (conference),
March 3-4, 2017, Ball State University, Muncie, IN
 10 January 2017

The Midwest Region of the American Academy of Religion invites paper and panel proposals that engage material and sensory cultures of religion from any historical, geographical, or theoretical specialization. This section of the MAAR welcomes submissions that investigate religious art and iconography, embodiment, commonplace artifacts, music and aural cultures, sensoria, architecture, media and technology, food studies, and museums, among other relevant topics, as primary modes of inquiry and analysis from scholars in the Midwest and beyond who will contribute to this growing conversation. This year we are especially interested in proposals that engage the conference theme of “Religion in Higher Education” … Proposals may approach material, visual, and/or sensory cultures of religion from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including, but not limited to, religious studies, history, anthropology, fine art, theology, museum studies, and American Studies. Papers and panels organized around books, films, museum exhibits, archival collections, teaching projects, and digital humanities projects are also encouraged. Read more here

Call for Applications for Spring School, University of Helsinki: From the sanctuary to the museum: Displaying the sacred (20–24 March 2017)
Deadline:  15 January 2017.

This week-long course will explore the contexts in which sacred objects have been put on display—or not—from the Middle Ages to the present. Although the primary focus will be on the visual and material culture of the Latin Church, a wider frame of reference will be provided by applying perspectives taken from archaeological and ethnographic discourses on the transfer of ritual objects from their original cultural settings to become part of museum collections. The Spring School welcomes applicants from across the fields of art history, cultural history, ethnography, museology, anthropology, religious studies, and archaeology.  Read more at:


Call for Papers: Restorying Canada – Reconsidering Religion and Public Memory A Conference and Public Event (University of Ottawa, 18–20 May 2017)
Deadline: 1 February 2017

The Conference will bring together people from multiple fields of expertise who are working on projects broadly related to the theme of religion and public memory in Canada that consider the multiple nations that brought this country into being. We welcome proposals in areas such as the study of religion, history, anthropology, Indigenous studies, law, museum studies, political theory, literature, art, media studies, environmental studies, and archaeology. Since we consider Restorying Canada to include diverse modes of storytelling, we encourage proposals for both traditional and innovative forms of presentation. Read more. 

Leave a comment

Heritage and the Sacred

Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art and Belief

Volume 9, Number 3, September 2013

The theme for the latest issue of Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art and Belief  is ‘Heritage and the Sacred’. The articles include:

  • Heritage and the Sacred: Introduction (Birgit Meyer and Marleen de Witte)
  • Bed and Throne: The “Museumification” of the Living Quarters of a Candomblé Priestess (Maria Paula Adinolfi and Mattijs van de Port)
  • Shapes of “Culture” and the Sacred Surplus: Heritage Formation and Pentecostal Conversion among the Patax? Indians in Brazil (André Bakker)
  • Mediality and Materiality in Religious Performance: Religion as Heritage in Mauritius (Patrick Eisenlohr)
  • Sacred Objects into State Symbols: The Material Culture of Chieftaincy in the Making of a National Political Heritage in Ghana (Kodjo Senah)
  • African Story of Creation: Heritage Formation at Freedom Park, South Africa (Duane Jethro)
  • Spirits and the Ever-Changing Heritage (Anna Karlström)
  • Spirits Outside Heritage (David Berliner)
  • Toward a critical heritage studies (Ciraj Rassool)
  • Stonehenge Today (Loraine Knowles)

Read the articles online (if you do not have access to the journal via your institution, you can sign up for the website’s free trial).