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Religious Studies


Living Humanism: Material Culture and the Remaking of Religion


What’s this religion in material culture? How does the performativity of religion in material cultural practices often remake religion into forms of humanist expressions? Although the Pacific Northwest, in particular, has been dubbed the ”˜None Zone’ due to low rates of institutional religious participation, scholars have suggested that the cultural cartography of religion points towards a more “spiritual” remaking of religion. What does this landscape look like, especially among young people in Portland, Oregon?

This one day symposium brings scholars together, whose scholarship, in divergent ways, gives thought to the shifting context, understanding, classification, and modalities of how material culture (broadly understood), reshapes how we think about the category of religion, both theoretically and methodologically. The shape shifty landscape of contemporary culture offers a robust terrain to interrogate and rethink how we give thought to categories such as religion, as expressed in the multiplicities of material cultural products.

This symposium is dedicated to the theme “Living Humanism” to consider the complex ways in which religion and religious rhetorical housing often provides a space to negotiate human interests, means, and ends. Here, we consider how material culture, as both product and context, forces a rethinking of how religion is remade, often providing a cosmology of Humanism as both practice and posture in seemingly un/conscious ways.

Religious Studies

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