Samson, “Reading Images of Christ”

Samson, Judith.  2013.  Reading Images of Christ: Masculinity and Homosexuality as Sites of Struggle in Popular Religious Images of Jesus.  Religion and Gender 2(2): 280-304.

Abstract:  The attitude towards homosexuality has become one of the key markers of political identity. In Europe as well as in Northern America it has been used by different groups to promote their views. Especially between fundamentalist Christians and politically as well as religiously liberal people it has become a significant topic of contestation. This article argues that this struggle not only takes place on a textual, but also on a visual discursive level, in which the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is central. An analysis of the representation of Jesus’ masculinity in this image shows that different groups, Polish fundamentalists at a pilgrimage site and liberal American producers of a satiric website, use different versions of the same image to either counter or support public acceptance of homosexuality.

Tassi, “Dancing the Image”

Tassi, Nico. 2012. “Dancing the Image”: materiality and spirituality in Andean religious “images.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute  18(2):285-310.


In the Christian tradition, representing the divine has often been considered both an impossible and yet necessary endeavour rooted in the human need in certain moments of weakness to visualize God. In this article, based on research findings from fieldwork carried out with urban indigenous groups in La Paz, Bolivia, I suggest that the articulation of local and Catholic representational traditions and practices has produced an understanding of the religious image not so much as an object of detached contemplation or a reference to a religious symbol but rather as an energized element which physically shapes the relationship and exchange between the material and the spiritual world. I suggest that through a study of Andean religious images we may be able to produce an alternative ontological perspective on the relationship between the spiritual, material, and living worlds.


Dans la tradition chrétienne, la représentation du divin est souvent considérée comme une gageure impossible et pourtant nécessaire, motivée par la nécessité humaine de visualiser Dieu dans les moments de faiblesse. À partir des matériaux de terrain obtenus auprès de groupes autochtones urbains à La Paz, en Bolivie, l’auteur suggère ici que l’articulation des traditions et pratiques de représentation locales et catholiques a conduit à concevoir l’image religieuse moins comme un objet de contemplation détachée ou une référence à un symbole religieux que comme un élément chargé d’énergie, qui donne physiquement forme à la relation et aux échanges entre le monde matériel et le monde spirituel. L’article suggère qu’à travers l’étude des images religieuses andines, on pourrait élaborer un autre point de vue ontologique sur la relation entre les mondes spirituel, matériel et vivant.