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Center for the Study of Material and Visual Cultures of Religion

The Center for the Study of Material and Visual Cultures of Religion at Yale University (MAVCOR) is delighted to announce the public launch of our redesigned website ( MAVCOR is characterized by its subjects of inquiry and by the forms of scholarly, interdisciplinary activity it promotes. The Center is equally about the study of the material, visual, sensory, and spatial “stuff” of religious practice and about multiplying ways of being in conversation, of sharing information and producing knowledge, about this set of subjects.

This collaboration shapes a multidisciplinary scholarly Center for religion and visual/material culture studies at Yale University. From this local base, the Center aims to facilitate a network of institutional and individual partners in varied settings, including higher education, religious communities, arts and architectural professions, museums, and civic life.

As part of the Center's promotion of conversation around its subjects of inquiry, the Center publishes the Material Objects Archive, a growing database of material and visual objects activated in religious practices broadly conceived, and Conversations, a born-digital, peer-reviewed journal. Conversations includes a variety of contribution types, including Object Narratives, Essays, Material Mediations, Constellations, Interviews, and Medium Studies. Scholars at all ranks of training and profession in related fields are encouraged to contribute to Conversations and the Material Objects Archive. Both text and image contributions may be submitted to the Center's peer review process by emailing

Over the past year, a generous grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, along with additional support from the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, has allowed MAVCOR to complete this work of revision and enhanced functionality. In addition to a more attractive and streamlined interface, the redesign incorporates a number of changes to expand visitor experience of the site. These include a sophisticated search engine specific to MAVCOR’s Material Objects Archive and a global site search engine that allows visitors to search all site content, or to limit searches to our blind-peer-reviewed born-digital journal Conversations. A new Fellows Portal supports MAVCOR’s multi-year project cycles; these center around a specific theme related to MAVCOR’s interests and bring together groups of interdisciplinary scholar/fellows from a range of institutions, national and international.

Two new content types contribute to MAVCOR’s investment in innovative ways of engaging its publics and doing digital scholarship. One of these, Mediations, joins the other content types offered within Conversations. Mediations provides space for theoretical and experimental reflection within the journal.

The second new category, Collections, expands the possibilities of MAVCOR’s Material Objects Archive, allowing individual scholars to curate large, multi-object contributions to the archive. Collections exist both within the Archive and as separate entities, associated with the name of their contributor/author, and accompanied by optional discursive text. Contributors may also divide each Collection into subfields accompanied by further written introductory content. One anticipated use of Collections is to display color images related to print publications, and to do so in numbers that exceed the possibilities of the print format. Such Collections would complement the print publication and include links to the publisher’s page for the volume in question.

MAVCOR welcomes contributions that combine substantial and original scholarship with accessibility to a generally educated public. We look forward to future collaborations and invite you to explore the new site.

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