Visiting Associate Professor of Religious Studies S. Brent Plate delivered a keynote address to the Dutch Association for the Study of Religion for conference in early November. The association has met annually since 1947, and represents the social scientific and humanities-oriented study of religion across the Netherlands. Participants from universities in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Groningen, Nijmegen, and elsewhere in northern Europe attended.
The theme for the conference was "Religions and their Despisers: Criticism and Vilification of Religions and Believers." Plate was invited because of his ongoing work on blasphemous images in relation to religious and artistic discourse. His presentation was titled "Visual Abuse: Blasphemous Arts as Praise and Protest" and examined the ongoing issues of blasphemous images in Europe and North America, with special attention to last year's controversy regarding artist David Wojnarowicz's artwork at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.