The Spring 2023 Teaching Religion in Public series will be organized around the pedagogical uses of THiNGS, particularly objects housed in museums, archives, and special collections, with special attention to when and how these objects are understood to have—or lack—religious significance. Our series begins on with a shared reading from Noli Me Tangere: On the Raising of the Body, by Jean-Luc Nancy, which interprets the words of Jesus to Mary Magdalene, often translated, “do not touch me!” as a parable about the relationship between things in themselves and how they are represented.
Each of the three subsequent sessions will focus on questions fundamental to our pedagogical practices: which objects are categorized as accessible to public touch, and which are kept out of reach? How do we handle objects that are offensive or otherwise dangerous? How are objects classified and what do those classifications reveal about our values and ideas of materiality and representation?
The first session will take place at our Center for the Religion and the Human, but all others will provide us with different contexts for touching and thinking about objects. We will sketch some items from the teaching collection at the Indiana University Museum of Archeology and Anthropology; interact with objects associated with sex and other provocations at the Kinsey Institute; and learn how the category of the fetish inflects engagement with religious objects by engaging with an African artifact currently housed at the Sydney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art.
Our goal is to experience for ourselves the active learning we aim to foster with our students with the help of some of IUB’s extraordinary resources. We hope the hands-on experiences in this TRiP series will challenge, provoke, and enlighten you. Spontaneous discoveries are encouraged!
Hope to see you all there!
Blake Garland-Tirado, graduate student coordinator
Constance Furey, faculty coordinator