Material Object Analysis

Material Object Analysis

RLGN 1450

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D. Dubois

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Reference:

Mahan, 1.1 Relating Media, Religion and Culture

Mahan, 1.2 Making and Articulating Religious Identity

Mahan, 3.8 Reading, Listening, Watching

As Mahan reminds us, “understanding media, religion, and culture requires paying attention to the material ‘stuff’ of religion …. as well as to what people do with this stuff.” (Mahan 2014:123).

To complete the assignment, you will present and analyze one healing scroll that is part of the Met Museum Collection.See Material Object Analysis Links in UM Learn.

*If you encounter difficulties with the links on UM Learn, you can always search for the object and articles directly using the title at the metmuseum website.

The goal of this assignment is to provide a description of the object that can be easily be understood by the average individual as well as a clear analysis of how this object functions as media in a religious context.

Your assignment should incorporate and reference concepts discussed by Mahan.

Two short articles that provide background for understanding this material object are provided.

  • African Christianity in Ethiopia (provides contextual background to understand material object)
  • Ethiopian Healing Scrolls

No title page or bibliography is required. No other secondary sources are required outside Mahan and the ones provided. If quoting from one of the articles provided, use author name, followed by title. For Mahan, use author name and page. State the name of this material object as header, and include your name. The assignment should be ca. 500 words, double-spaced, Times New Roman Font, 12pt.

Questions to guide you:

Who made this?

Who was it made for?

What is the significance of its size?

What is the significance of its materials?

What skill is needed to interact with this object?

Which senses are solicited by this object?

What kind of esthetic experience is elicited by this object?

How it is involved in practice?

What is its ritual context?

What does it say about authority/power?

How does it function as media?

Rubric: Material Object Analysis

Description of ObjectClearly identifies relevant details. For instance (but not limited to) associated religion, type of object, material(s) used, geographical provenance, nature of artistic production, date, size, distinguishing features.10
Function of ObjectProvides a plausible description of function of object by drawing on sources provided. Could include (but not limited to) a discussion of practice, ritual context, esthetic experience.20
Insight and ComprehensionDemonstrates capacity to discuss this object using relevant concepts discussed in class. (Must paraphrase or quote Mahan text using page numbers, e.g. (Mahan 124))10
Coherence of Presentation and ReadabilityEasy to read and understandFlows wellNot marred by writing problems (grammar, vocabulary)

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