(Visual and Material) Conversion in the Early Modern World
Thursday | 2:00 - 5:00pm
The notion of conversion exerts some pressure on the given terminology of trans-cultural encounters of early modern maritime capitalism and European empires (hybridity, diffusion, transmission, circulation, convergence, etc.). In addition to studying religious conversion and the visual/performative cultures of missionary practices of the 16th-17th centuries, this seminar will propose that conversion describes broader processes involving dominant/subordinate visual and material cultures, indigeneity, the transposition of media technologies, conflicting temporalities, resistances and formal survivals, such as pattern. Scholarly attention to historical instances of religious conversion and resistance (pagan/early Christian, Iberian Jews and Muslims/conversos and Crypto-Judaism, Portuguese/Christian Congolese and Jesuit interventions in Asia and South Asia) may offer models for examining patterns of latency, formal persistence and recurrence. The seminar will primarily take cases from the visual and material cultures of the early colonial Hispanic Americas and trans-oceanic worlds as ballast for discussion; other geographic and temporal research topics concerning media archaeology may be pursued.