Iconic books are texts revered as objects of power rather than just as words of instruction, information, or insight. In religious and secular rituals around the globe, people carry, show, wave, touch and kiss books and other texts, as well as read them. This blog chronicles such events and activities. (For more about iconic books, see the links to the Iconic Books Project at left.)

Monday, April 25, 2011

SCRIPT Program

Here is the program of SCRIPT's panels in its concurrent meeting with the AAR-EIR in Syracuse on May 6-7. The program for the entire conference is available here.

ICONIC BOOKS (Friday 12:00-1:30)
  • Nancy Menning “Wunderkammern as more than iconic: Watts’s model of scriptures and the Book of Nature”
  • David Dault “The Strange Case of the United 93 Bible: Tragedy, Iconicity, Materiality”
  • James W. Watts “Iconic Electronic Texts, or How Ritual Makes ‘Virtual’ Texts Material”
TEXTS AND IDENTITY (Friday 1:45-3:15)

  • Marcie Middlebrooks “The Inner Spirit and Outer Performance of Korean Buddhist Shinhaeng-dam Stories”
  • Steven Christopher Johnson “Empowering Oppression: LGBT Gaudiya Vaishnava Scriptural Interpretation”
  • Margaret Robinson “Pride, Performance and Praise: Bisexual Anthology as Bible”
TEXT AND COMMUNITY (Friday 3:30-5:00)

  • Chris Duncanson-Hales “RastafarI ‘Q:’ National Geographic “Modern Ethiopia” and “Coronation Day in Addis Ababa””
  • Cecile Marie Wilson “The iconic status of the original manifestos seems confirmed by AMORC’s recent emulation of them.” 
IMAGE AND BOOK (Saturday 8:30-10:30)

  • Karl Ivan Solibakke “The Gospel of the Haunted: Arnold Daghani’s What a Nice World”
  • Glenn Jonathan McCullough “Blake’s Job and the Alchemical Tradition”
  • Judith Oliver “A Multi-Media Performance of the Easter Liturgy In A Nun’s Choirbook from Late Medieval Germany”
  • Jason Neelis “Rebirth Narratives in Gandhāran Buddhist Literary and Material Cultures – Different locative tendencies in early manuscript fragments, art, and pilgrimage accounts”
SCRIPT ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION (Saturday 10:45-12:15) with Brent Plate, David Dault,
Joanne Waghorne, and James Watts.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

SCRIPT membership & Postscripts

SCRIPT membership now includes an online subscription to current and back issues of Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts and Contemporary Worlds, which later this year will be publishing a special issue containing the papers from the three Iconic Books symposia held in 2007, 2009 and 2010. Memberships including that subscription are $70 (45 GBP); student memberships without the subscription cost $15. Apply for membership at the Postscripts SCRIPT member's page.

The Society for Comparative Research on Iconic and Performative Texts (SCRIPT) was founded in 2010 to encourage new scholarship about the social functions of books and texts that exceed their semantic meaning and interpretation, such as their display as cultural artifacts, their ritual use in religious and political ceremonies, their performance by recitation and theater, and their depiction in art.

The society sponsors programming at existing regional and international scholarly meetings and at colleges and universities. Next month, SCRIPT is sponsoring four panels meeting concurrently with the Eastern International Regional Meeting of the AAR in Syracuse (May 6-7). We welcome ideas for other programs and venues to host them. For more information, see www.script-site.net.