The Global Republic of Sacred Things

Intersections seeks papers for the 2017 issue, The Global Republic of Sacred Things: The Circulation of Religious Art in the Early Modern World.

Sixteenth-century Europe was a time when monarchial territories were redrawn, permanent schisms split a single church, and sustained, repeated circumnavigation of the globe was achieved for the first time. The “globalization” of the early modern world expanded and transformed the “Republic of Things.” While there has been an increasing literature on biographies and itineraries of objects, European religious overseas networks, often at the heart of Protestant Reformation and post-Tridentine political, geographical and theological reform, have received considerably less attention to date. How, for example, did points of contact by agent, merchant and missionary impact the early modern imagination as a social practice? And how did the journeys of images, artifacts, and precious cargoes across intersecting networks affect their value and use? Previously, these webs of communication bore only incidental information about the material cultures their presence at the frontiers of known lands stimulated at home and abroad. Further still, as European systems largely governed by and for Europeans, the things that linked religious and commercial networks have the potential to offer insight into Europe’s initial attempts to grapple with long-distance contact zones. In a challenge to models of individual organizations, cultural comparisons, and post-colonial theories of industrialized societies, this volume seeks to consider how a sacred Republic of Things — material residues of global encounter most broadly conceived (masterpieces, decorative art and functional objects) — can cast light on the dramatis personae of the fifteenth- to eighteenth-centuries as they came to terms with an expanding world.

Objects should give some evidence of the interaction of Europe with Asia, Africa or the Americas, and religious “things,” or objects of devotion, that have not yet had their moment in the sun are ideal. We are particularly interested in the production of artisanal cultures, local accommodation via technologies and materials, shifting currencies of value and objects used against the grain of their intended purpose. Issues at stake could include, but need not be limited to, the globalization of different types of religious subjects or objects, the use of new media (either alone or in conjunction with others), mimesis and memory, spolia and translation, commoditization and mobility.


Posted on May 16, 2014 in Calls for Papers



for Byzantine Arts and Culture

Founded in 2010 through a generous gift from the Jaharis Family Foundation, the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture is dedicated to the promotion and advancement of knowledge about the rich heritage of Byzantine art and culture.

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