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Faculty Work-in-Progress: “Italy by Way of India: Routes of Devotional Knowledge in the Early Modern Period”

Headshot of Erin Benay
Erin Benay

The Baker-Nord Center for Humanities will host a faculty work-in-progress lecture with Assistant Professor of Art History and Art Erin Benay.

Her lecture, titled “Italy by Way of India: Routes of Devotional Knowledge in the Early Modern Period,” will be held Tuesday, Oct. 18, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in Clark Hall, Room 206.

Travel between the vying reliquary sites of St. Thomas Apostle in Chennai, India, and Ortona, Italy, ruptured narrative continuity in the formation of his European cult while simultaneously fostering a thriving Indian culture of “Thomas Christianity.”

The arrival of missionaries and merchants from Italy and Portugal during the 16th and 17th centuries further complicated the homologous nature of so-called Thomas Christianity and resulted in the production of objects that merge Christian and Hindu iconographies in ways that are here elucidated for the first time.

In her talk, Benay will shed light on a little-studied chapter in the history of cultic devotion outside the conventional geographic parameters of the Renaissance and suggests an important instance of transcultural exchange during the early modern period.

A pre-lecture reception will begin at 4:15 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public, but online registration is recommended.