Humanities Center Director: Thomas Wilson

Brent Rodriguez Plate

Religious Studies Department, Hamilton College

Blasphemous Art and Secular Media

Thursday, December 2, 2010 • 4:10pm • Taylor Science Center 3024

In the 1930s T.S. Eliot sneered, “’I am reproaching a world in which blasphemy is impossible.” Eighty years later we seem to be living in a different world, one in which blasphemy is alive and well. While there are political and social approaches to the topic, this presentation will look at the role of visual arts and media as particular instigators of accusations of blasphemy. From Danish cartoons to Madonna’s concert performances, Monty Python to Andres Serrano, Professor Plate will suggest how blasphemy needs both an artist and an accuser. To understand blasphemous art we have to take note of the context in which blasphemy occurs.

S. Brent Plate is visiting associate professor in Religious Studies at Hamilton College. His teaching and research focus on how ways of seeing affect ways of being religious. Courses include “Religion and Modern Art” and “Religion and Media,” while his publications include Blasphemy: Art that Offends and Religion and Film: Cinema and the Re-Creation of the World. He is co-founder and managing editor of Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art, and Belief.

Sponsored by Dean of Faculty, the Yordán Lecture Fund, Religious Studies Department, Emerson Gallery and the Chaplaincy