Fall Conference 2012
Sacred Spaces, Sacred Places: Religious Architecture and Sites
November 9– 10, 2012
Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa, Stowe, Vermont
Sacred buildings and sites offer us ways to enter into and better understand the cultures that sanctify them — from Gothic cathedrals to Muslim shrines, from Buddhist and Hindu temples to New England meetinghouses and American churches. Compelling in their own right, these buildings are also visible signifiers of spiritual beliefs and practices. How do they manifest the values of the cultures that sanctify them? What do they have in common? Join us at the Vermont Humanities Council’s 39th annual fall conference to examine these places and the beliefs and values they embody.
The conference begins Friday afternoon with two concurrent presentations: illustrated talks on Islamic sacred sites and Christian pilgrimage sites in Europe and their role in preserving and transmitting both religious belief and secular culture.
New this year is an optional dinner buffet Friday night at the Stoweflake (details). After dinner, Professor Robert Oden, former president of both Kenyon and Carleton Colleges and a former professor of religion at Dartmouth College, will examine the persistent power of place in religious life across a variety of religious traditions.
The Saturday morning plenary features Glenn Andres, professor of the history of art and architecture at Middlebury College, who will consider the convergence of form and function in New England’s iconic meetinghouses. In the afternoon, Dr. Nasser Rabbat, the Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Architecture at MIT, will speak about the importance of three different mosques to the Islamic world.
Morning and afternoon breakout sessions offer conference-goers the opportunity to interact with Professor Oden about what we can learn about Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam from studying their sacred spaces; to consider with Professor Andres how and why American church buildings changed through the 19th and 20th centuries; to examine the sacred role of ritual; and to learn about the sacred spaces of many world religions, including Hinduism, Christianity, Native American culture, Judaism, Islam, and Japanese Buddhism.
Throughout the conference, enjoy the exhibit White on White, featuring Steve Rosenthal’s photographs of the early churches of New England.
Schedule • Key Speakers • Breakout Sessions • Fees and Registration
About Fall Conference — An In-Depth Exploration of a Humanities Topic
Each year, the Vermont Humanities Council explores a humanities topic through its fall conference over two days in November.
Past topics have ranged from The Power of the Humanities and Comedy and Satire to Food for Thought to Delight and Wisdom: The Life and Poetry of Robert Frost to the Northern Civil War Home Front.
Past Fall Conference Topics