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Presentation: Prof. Richard J. McGregor: “The Gaze of Salvation: Relics as Icon and Image in Medieval Egypt and Syria”

Richard J. McGregor
, Professor of Religious Studies at Vanderbilt University, will present his current research related to material culture, visual culture, and Islam.  Well-versed in a variety of topics concerning Sufism and Shi’i Islam, this talk will focus on a new dynamic in his research concerning the icons and religious practice. Both display and vision are mobilized around the objects and rituals of Islamic religion. Viewing relics is a complex dynamic involving the presentation of an object to an eye trained in the requisite religious culture. The Islamic relics of Egypt and Syria fit uneasily into the current theory of images, and thus present an opportunity to rethink the operations of religion and visual culture. Imprint, contact, and bodily relics – heads, fingers, footprints, swords – illustrate well the diversity and charged history of these viewing practices and will be some of the topics for this talk.


Refreshments will be served at 6:00pm, followed by the lecture at 6:30pm.


For more information, please contact Candace Mixon ( or see the Facebook event page.


Sponsored by the Islamicate Graduate Students Association, Department of Religious Studies, Department of Asian Studies, the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations, and the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies.



Mon Mar 25, 2013 10pm – 11:30pm GMT (no daylight saving)
Murphey 105, UNC-CH (map)