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A Universe of Terms: Religion in Visual Metaphor

Mona Oraby, Howard University

March 1, 2023 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · A17 Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building

Center for Culture, Society and Religion

How can we foster a more inclusive, responsible, and communicative future? What if illustrated scholarship is one way to get there?

Organized around eight terms in the study of religion, the groundbreaking, multifaceted book A Universe of Terms: Religion in Visual Metaphor combines text and image to examine the human as both catalyst of crisis and principal agent for its mitigation. Mona Oraby and Emilie Flamme—a professor and an illustrator—were spurred to create an alternative form for scholarly communication, one that stages conversations between thinkers who likely would not all find themselves in the same room. This graphic nonfiction book acknowledges the significance of certain terms to the social sciences and the humanities, narrates their limitations, and shows why we need a structure and style for thinking them otherwise. It further urges the iterative rethinking of any new terms this exercise yields. Through its unique visual lexicon, A Universe of Terms explores religious media in postcolonial and secular contexts, performances of religious feeling, the political economy of religion, sacred presence, and human striving amid social inequality and climate change. Beautifully illustrated and inspired by a range of media from graphic novels to podcasts, A Universe of Terms is a visual experiment, one that invites readers to think again and anew about how the visual is integral to thought.

This event is free and open to the public. It will not be livestreamed but will be recorded and posted on the CCSR website after the event.

The first 20 graduate students, undergraduate students, or non-tenure-track scholars to register for this event will receive a copy of the book!

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