Votive objects or ex-votos are a broad category of material artifacts produced with the intention of being offered as acts of faith. Common across historical periods, religions, and cultures, they are presented as tokens of gratitude for prayers answered, and the physical manifestation of hopes, dreams, and anxieties. To celebrate the opening of the exhibition Agents of Faith: Votive Objects in Time and Place (on view September 14, 2018–January 6, 2019), this one-day symposium will look at what humans chose to offer in their votive transactions. Speakers will explore how votives mark the most intimate moments in human existence and question the nature, role, and function of one of the most fundamental aspects of the relationship between people and things—the imbuing of objects with sentiment.

11 am
Peter N. Miller, Bard Graduate Center
Nina Stritzler-Levine, Bard Graduate Center
Ittai Weinryb, Bard Graduate Center

11:20 am
Remedial Options and Votive Culture in Early Modern Italy
Fredrika Jacobs, Virginia Commonwealth University

11:40 am
Boons and Blessings in Early India
John Guy, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

12:00 pm
Observations on a Tyrolean War Votive, Its Destination and Function
Mitchell Merback, Johns Hopkins University

12:20 pm
Questions & Discussion

12:40 pm
Lunch Break

2 pm
How Some Yoruba Live Forever: Ẹbọ Arts as Living Votives
Suzanne Preston Blier, Harvard University

2:20 pm
Votive Practice as Sacred Economy
David Morgan, Duke University

2:40 pm
The Politics and Poetics of an Ex-voto in Lourdes
Catrien Notermans, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

3 pm
Gerhard Wolf, Kunsthistorisches Institut - Max Planck Institute, Florence

3:20 pm
Questions & Discussion

3:40 pm