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Martha G. Newman, Chair BUR 529, Mailcode A3700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-7737

Conference explores contention and competition over relics and other sacred objects

Posted: March 14, 2012
Reliquary (with contents) from the ancient Gandhara province of Pakistan. 1st century.

Reliquary (with contents) from the ancient Gandhara province of Pakistan. 1st century.

The Department of Religious Studies is one of the major sponsors of the upcoming colloquium, "Matter of Contention: Relics and Other Sacred Objects at the Crossroads of Religious Traditions." Ra'anan Boustan, a visiting scholar in the Department, organized this event as part of the culmination of his year spent at the University as a Harrington Fellow. The colloquium explores contention and competition over relics or other mobile repositories of religious power among the communities that venerate or value them. The goal is to push the study of relics and other sacred objects beyond their location and function within seemingly discrete religious traditions to consider the material and social factors that conditioned their ongoing relevance across multiple-and often rival-religious communities. Religious rivalry over objects takes a variety of forms, ranging from physical conflicts for the possession of material remains to discursive arguments about such objects' meanings and narratives. While participants will examine particular examples according to their areas of specialization, the colloquium as a whole will consider broader patterns across space, time, and cultural context.

The colloquium takes place on April 23 and 24 on the University campus. For more information, please visit the conference website: http://www.utexas.edu/cola/depts/rs/events/Matter-of-Contention/About.php.

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