#6 Catherine Wanner

This is the sixth episode of the Conversation Series, with Catherine Wanner: professor of history, anthropology, and religious studies at Penn State. In this talk, Wanner conceptualizes and analyzes how “an affective atmosphere of religiosity” can be created and made politically useful. The spaces in between institutional religion and individual, ritualized behaviors as people go about their everyday lives can become sites that foster such an atmosphere. In some Orthodox Christian countries, a “place animated with prayer” is said to be filled with energy that links individuals to others and to otherworldly powers. This designation allows non-doctrinal practices, non-clerical forms of authority, and non-institutional sacred sites to develop. Orienting religious practices to such sites circumvents anticipated coercion from clergy and institutions alike, but retains the shared understandings, emotional involvement, and attachments to places these vernacular religious practices breed. In this episode, Wanner offers analyses of such sites and atmospheres in Ukraine, and reflects on the plethora of practices people have developed to tap into the energy that resides in these places to make a change in their lives.

Music for the Conversation Series is generously provided by the Shavnabada Choir

Religion and Theology is produced by Joel Kuhlin for the Center for Theology and Religious Studies. If you have comments or critique of this episode, or any other episodes of R&T, please contact us via the podcast’s twitteraccount: @reloteol. 

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