Archive for August 2010

„Material Religion“ in „Virtual Worlds“?

by Simone Heidbrink

Impressions of the Summer School’s public lecture by David Morgan (July 31st, 2010)

At first glance it might seem contradictory to invite an expert on „Material Religion“ to teach at a summer school dedicated to the research on online matters. However, after the lecture of David Morgan, Professor of Religion and Art History at Duke University in Durham (USA) and renowned specialist of Religious Visual culture and Religion and Media, the audience agreed, it was NOT. But let’s start by reflecting on some of Morgan’s main topics and assumptions.

In order to be able to follow Morgan’s line of argument, one has to regard his view on the two basic terms of „belief“ and „materiality“. Obviously the term „belief“ with its inherent christocentric emphasis on cognition (in short terms: „THE word“) in opposite to other non-intellectual expressions of religion has been critizised and rightly so! However, Morgan propagates its use (MINUS its epistemological components) to indicate the different products of religious practise like icons, architecture, rituals, music etc. In that way, it is possible to coin the term to express the different forms of „materialized religion“ like sensations, things, places and performances as a matrix, where „religions happen“. „Belief is not primarily a structure of knowing or an epistemological rubric, but rather the condensation of practice experienced as feeling, sensation, moral obligation, historical momentum (custom), cultural connectedness, and the aesthetics of belonging. Religion is therefore a community of feeling structured immanently and transcendentally.“ (Quote taken from Morgan’s presentation slides.)

Weiterlesen …


Wooha, it’s Monday!

02.08.2010 1 Kommentar

… and I skipped at least part of the group work to finish this article. So, what happend so far? Friday I arrived at Kerstin’s around midnight, after the “Get Together” at the University Club in the Jacobs University ended. Had a good talk or two, the amount of beverages was well calculated and from what I have seen our participants enjoyed it, too. Besides, the media seems more interested in our little summer school, then expected: taz: Ja-Wort über das Internet, Radio Bremen: Religionen und Rituale in virtuellen Welten – Gespräch mit Kerstin Radde-Antweiler, Sende-Zeit: Sommerakademie zu Religion in virtuellen Welten and I think another interview is scheduled for the upcoming Tuesday.

Saturday was highlighted by the Public Lecture „Material Religion. Objects, Art, and Belief“ by David Morgan, which will be reviewed by Simone later today. On Sunday i was so tired from being awake, that i couldn’t get much out of the lectures Peter Bräunlein and again David Morgan put together. Shame on me.

Today is network-analysis-day and Martin Engelbrecht is the only referent. He takes a very practical approach, not only in emphasizing the need to customize the methods he has to teach depending on the specific research questions, but also in letting the participants of the summer school research in small groups for more than half of the time. These groups meet every half an hour, discussing their progress, while he moves from person to person and group to group, helping and guiding them, where problems occur. I DO like that kind of „interactive“ teaching.

On the theoretical side he threw a nice framework at us, where he combined aspects of network analysis and discourse analysis to grasp what is happening, when people address religion/religiousness on the Internet. An detailed report on this session – and most of the others – will be published by one of the participants 1-2 weeks after the summer school right here.

And now to the drama section: as we are using a computer pool on the Jacobs University, we asked them beforehand to install the software we need on windows. Sadly the information how to boot Windows wasn’t given or got lost in the more then real realms of e-mail communication, till we figured out that we had to do hard resets to get to the GRUB-Bootloader – despite the warning signs to NOT do that. We are such brave scientists.