Session Title

Describing Devotion (A Roundtable)

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Special Session

Organizer Name

Beth Williamson

Organizer Affiliation

Univ. of Bristol

Presider Name

Beth Williamson

Paper Title 1

Discussant

Presenter 1 Name

Alexa K. Sand

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Utah State Univ.

Paper Title 2

Discussant

Presenter 2 Name

Jessica Brantley

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Yale Univ.

Paper Title 3

Discussant

Presenter 3 Name

June-Ann Greeley

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Sacred Heart Univ.

Paper Title 4

Discussant

Presenter 4 Name

Theresa M. Kenney

Presenter 4 Affiliation

Univ. of Dallas

Paper Title 5

Discussant

Presenter 5 Name

Emily Guerry

Presenter 5 Affiliation

Univ. of Kent

Start Date

7-5-2020 10:00 AM

Session Location

Bernhard Brown & Gold Room

Description

Understanding religious and devotional experience is currently a key concern of medievalists of many specialisms. ‘Devotion’ or ‘devotional’ is a term often used in studies of medieval texts and artefacts, as a way to signal a particular religious, intellectual, and/or behavioural context for objects, buildings, texts, or music. And yet, in studies of ‘devotional images’ or ‘devotional texts’, the definition and nature of ‘devotion’ is not often interrogated as thoroughly as the artefacts being examined. The purpose of this session is to reflect upon what the objects, texts, sounds, etc, that we study tell us about ‘devotion’ itself, within the context of medieval Christianity, and to approach some new working definitions of the concept. Therefore, the aim of this roundtable session will not be to produce conclusions about devotional art, or devotional literature, for instance, but to pool understandings of various expressions of religious culture together to reach a better comprehension of religious devotion itself. The theories and practices of devotion cannot be understood without looking across visual and material, textual and musical culture. What we call ‘devotional behaviour’ or ‘devotional experience’ was shaped by, and performed through, all aspects of medieval culture, including the visual and material, the textual and musical. This makes it necessary to work within a properly interdisciplinary context, seeking an integrative, not just a comparative approach. Speakers from a variety of specialisms (including history, history of art, music, theology, and literature) will be invited to open up the discussion of ‘devotion’ in such an interdisciplinary fashion, with brief position papers, and the discussion will then be opened up to the floor.

Beth Williamson

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May 7th, 10:00 AM

Describing Devotion (A Roundtable)

Bernhard Brown & Gold Room

Understanding religious and devotional experience is currently a key concern of medievalists of many specialisms. ‘Devotion’ or ‘devotional’ is a term often used in studies of medieval texts and artefacts, as a way to signal a particular religious, intellectual, and/or behavioural context for objects, buildings, texts, or music. And yet, in studies of ‘devotional images’ or ‘devotional texts’, the definition and nature of ‘devotion’ is not often interrogated as thoroughly as the artefacts being examined. The purpose of this session is to reflect upon what the objects, texts, sounds, etc, that we study tell us about ‘devotion’ itself, within the context of medieval Christianity, and to approach some new working definitions of the concept. Therefore, the aim of this roundtable session will not be to produce conclusions about devotional art, or devotional literature, for instance, but to pool understandings of various expressions of religious culture together to reach a better comprehension of religious devotion itself. The theories and practices of devotion cannot be understood without looking across visual and material, textual and musical culture. What we call ‘devotional behaviour’ or ‘devotional experience’ was shaped by, and performed through, all aspects of medieval culture, including the visual and material, the textual and musical. This makes it necessary to work within a properly interdisciplinary context, seeking an integrative, not just a comparative approach. Speakers from a variety of specialisms (including history, history of art, music, theology, and literature) will be invited to open up the discussion of ‘devotion’ in such an interdisciplinary fashion, with brief position papers, and the discussion will then be opened up to the floor.

Beth Williamson