Visiting Associate Professor of Religious Studies S. Brent Plate presented invited lectures during March in Ithaca and Syracuse, N.Y., Louisville, Ky., and Richmond, Va.
At Ithaca College, Plate presented lectures to students in "New Testament" and "Religion and Science Fiction" courses. For the former, Plate spoke on a history of imagery of Jesus Christ, from the early church and the Renaissance through contemporary film. His other presentation dealt with the role of science fiction films in the making of alternate worlds and the parallels these formal structures have with religious myth and ritual.
Plate was invited to present preliminary work for his current book-in-progress, A History of the World in 5 1/2 Objects, at Syracuse University, the University of Richmond and the University of Louisville. Beginning with the desirous, incomplete, human body, Plate told the stories of five types of ordinary objects – stones, crosses, incense, drums and bread – that ordinary bodies have engaged and put to use in sensual, symbolic, sacred ways. He discussed how material objects have been used in religious ceremonies throughout time and throughout the world, and how basic, material connections stand at the heart of religious traditions as humans quest for meaningful, fulfilling lives.