Materiality of Devotion and Piety: The Middle Ages and Beyond
"The hooly blisful martyr for to seke," is the alleged goal for the pilgrimage that structures Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. What remains under-discussed is the actual goal of the Canterbury pilgrimage, or any other medieval pilgrimage: the pilgrims seek not "the hooly blissful martyr" himself, but things related to him—hair shirt, body parts, or any other object related to the saint and available for view. Devotion in the Middle Ages (Christian and non-Christian) took a tangible, material form that was considered equally important as the saints, deity, or feelings of devotion itself. Such material manifestations of devotion continued to evolve throughout the Middle Ages and beyond. This conference calls for papers that discuss such tangible signs of devotion and their significance in literature, art, architecture, and other forms of expression from the Middle Ages and onwards. Possible themes include, but are not limited to:
Depictions of devotional objects in literature
Religious books: prayer books, printed Bibles, etc..
Text and art that represent materials of devotion, their uses, or methods of creation
Marginalia, illuminations, woodcuts, scribal and printing practices
Tools of mortification, such as scourges and hair shirts
Relics and reliquaries
Jewelry, such as rosaries and crucifixes; clothing and textiles, such as tapestry, vestments and cassocks, tzitzit, tallit, and tefillin
Comparative examinations of the development of devotional objects through time and across cultures
Secular and lay use of religious materials
Destruction of devotional materials
Please submit a proposal of no longer than 200 words to Hwanhee Park (firstname.lastname@example.org) by October 25, 2012.