Marian Apparitions: religious ephemera and politics of classification

In the Religion in Culture M.A. program, our monthly journal group has created a space in which graduate students can engage with faculty, beyond just their advisor, regarding their individual interests–interests that, ideally, will be reflected in their eventual thesis. While my focus on the Virgin of Guadalupe and her devotees in the rural Southeastern United States has remained constant throughout the course of my studies, my methods in studying her have evolved considerably. While searching for an article for the group to read next, I realized that if I chose it carefully it could potentially showcase a particular lacuna in the field that my work hopes to fill.

As a result, the article I selected was less of an article and more of a crash course in contemporary approaches to studying Marian apparitions. Published in Religious Studies Review 43/3 (2017), it collected the brief presentations by American scholars in the humanities, at an exploratory session from the 2015 annual meeting for the American Academy of Religion. The eight scholars included ranged from late to early career and demonstrated a breadth of interests based in the academic study of religion as well as sociology and philosophy. The panel addressed concerns these scholars have regarding methodological approaches to Marian apparitions and, particularly, ephemera associated with them.



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