Vernacular Knowledge - Contesting Authority, Expressing Beliefs - Ülo Valk

Vernacular Knowledge - Contesting Authority, Expressing Beliefs - Ülo Valk

3. Visual Media and the Reconfiguration of Divinity in Moldovan Radical Religion

Vernacular Knowledge - Contesting Authority, Expressing Beliefs - Ülo Valk

James Kapaló [+-]
University College Cork
James A. Kapaló is Senior Lecturer in the Study of Religions at University College Cork, Ireland. He is the author of two monographs Text, Context and Performance: Gagauz Folk Religion in Discourse and Practice (Brill, 2011) and Inochentism and Orthodox Christianity: Religious Dissent in the Russian and Romanian Borderlands (Routledge, 2019). He was (2016–2021) Principal Investigator of the European Research Council project Creative Agency and Religious Minorities: Hidden Galleries in the Secret Police Archives and Central and Eastern Europe (project no. 677355). His research interests include Orthodox Christianity in the modern world, the securitisation of religion in 20th century Eastern Europe, and folk religion and vernacular knowledge systems.

Description

This paper explores the power of the visual to contest and subvert dominant religious beliefs and doctrines. Through an exploration of Inochentism and Archangelism, ‘home-grown’ religious movements in 20th and 21st century Moldova, I trace the power of visual media, when combined with folk narratives, prophesy and visionary literature, to contest state and church authority, embody the sacred and transform belief. The two movements discussed, driven underground by nationalist and communist regimes in Romania and Soviet Moldova, deployed visual media in the form of vernacular icons, photographs and photomontages, as powerful tools for critique and as a means of mobilizing belief during periods of intense persecution by the state. Based on a series of interviews with members of these movements between 2011 and 2014, on secret police archival sources and on Soviet propaganda publications, I examine how, under the pressure of state atheist ideology and political oppression, relations between divine and human, this world and the next, and the material and immaterial were re-imagined, re-presented and embodied by Moldovan village people.

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Citation

Kapaló, James. 3. Visual Media and the Reconfiguration of Divinity in Moldovan Radical Religion. Vernacular Knowledge - Contesting Authority, Expressing Beliefs. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 70-98 Oct 2022. ISBN 9781781792377. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=29211. Date accessed: 06 Feb 2023 doi: 10.1558/equinox.29211. Oct 2022

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