Dr. Thomas Ryba, Director of Religious Studies, has extended an invitation to a virtual Religious Studies lecture by Dr. Tania Checchi on Monday March 22 at 7:30 PM EST. Checchi’s lecture, titled Migrating Images and Ritual Effects: A Mimetic Take on Aby Warburg, promises to be an example of interdisciplinarity at its finest. Below the Zoom link is a brief summary:
Eccentric millionaire genius, Aby Warburg (1866-1929), aside from creating the famous Warburg library, inaugurated a new approach to the interpretation of images. Called ‘iconology,’ this approach influenced other art critics such as Panovsky, et al., in their projects of art interpretation. However, Warburg was not satisfied with either traditional iconography or the methods others had imposed upon his approach.
Trying to transcend formalism’s exclusive preoccupation with style and iconography’s rigid repertoire of fixed figures, he opened up a whole new domain for exploration and created new tools to do so. His notion of “pathosformel” (passion formula) provided a way of pinpointing the emotional content of images through gesture that bypassed the narrowness of previous approaches to the interpretation of images. Giorgio Agamben called this new approach Warburg’s “unnamed science.”
In her lecture for Religious Studies, Dr. Checchi will address Warburg’s central preoccupation – how symbols emerge and migrate through history -by applying Rene Girard’s religious anthropology and its insights about the mimetic nature of the sacred and attempt to give a name to Warburg’s unnamed (and unfinished) science.