Symposium: "The Rite Stuff"

Event time: 
Monday, April 11, 2011 - 11:00am
Event description: 

an interdisciplinary symposium on ritual objects and sound with the ISM Fellows in Sacred Music, Worship, and the Arts



Franck Bernède, Ruth Davis, and Lauren Winner

with guest speaker

Lisa R. Brody, Associate Curator of Ancient Art, Yale University Art Gallery


Sterling Library Auditorium

Entrance at 128 Wall Street

Free; no tickets required.


Ruth Davis | Songs, Memory and the Absent Jews of Tunisia

Focusing on different representations of the ‘chanson judeo-arabe’, a genre popularised by the mass media during the colonial period, I explore the interplay between official and unofficial memory among Jews and Muslims in contemporary Tunisia. My sources include mainstream Arab cinema, a pilgrimage to a miraculous synagogue and shrine to a local female saint, and an anthology of national folk song.


Lauren Winner | Lipstick Smudges and State Laws:  The Debate over Intinction and the Making of Modern Religion in the Episcopal Church

In the first half of the 20th century, Episcopalians in the US debated the mechanics of Eucharistic practice – should lay people partake of the common cup, or intinct the consecrated wafer into a chalice?  This paper explores the arguments mad by laypeople and clergymen on both sides of the debate, and suggests that laity and clergy alike were parsing what it meant to be religious in a modern world via the idiom of liturgical practice.  


Franck Bernède | Nasadyah: The Himalayan God of Music and Dance

Nasadyah, the Himalayan god of music and dance pervades all segments of  Newar society. His presence is manifested in hundreds of temples and shrines of the Kathmandu Valley where he appears as an aspect of the Hindu god Shiva or as its Buddhist counterpart, the Lokesvara Padmanrityesvar. Starting with an evocation of his myths, we will retrace the multiplicity of the forms taken by this fundamentally formless deity. Then, particular attention will be given to his worship as practiced by the Rajopadhyaya, former chaplains of the Malla Kings.


Lisa R. Brody | Dura-Europos: Ritual at the Crossroads

In the 1920s and 1930s, archaeologists from Yale University were involved in the exploration of ancient Dura-Europos (in modern-day Syria). The extraordinarily well-preserved artifacts and architecture tell the story of an important city located at a significant cultural crossroads in the Roman period. Buildings uncovered included a Synagogue painted with biblical scenes (something thought impossible given the prohibition against figural images in Jewish law); one of the first Christian house churches, with the earliest-known baptistery; and places of worship for the mystery religion of Mithraism and other pagan cults. These discoveries fundamentally altered the understanding of ritual in antiquity and the interactions that took place among ancient religious communities.


Lisa R. Brody, Associate Curator of Ancient Art, received her B.A. from Yale in 1991 and her Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University in 1999. She has excavated in Portugal, Greece, and Turkey, as well as on the Old Campus of Yale University. She has taught art history and classical archaeology at numerous institutions, including Notre Dame, Oregon State University, and Queens College, CUNY, and her publications includeAphrodisias III: The Aphrodite of Aphrodisias. She is currently working on an exhibition about the ancient city of Dura-Europos.