EVENT: Jackman Humanities Institute - Iconoclasm: the Breaking and Making of Images, Sat

Jackman Humanities Institute - Iconoclasm: the Breaking and Making of Images
Iconoclasm: The Breaking and Making of Images
University of Toronto, March 17–19, 2011
Keynote Addresses by Carol Mavor (Manchester) and Michael Taussig (Columbia)

The 22nd annual conference of the Centre for Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto in March 2011 will focus on the idea of Iconoclasm, the breaking of images and the making of icons.
The word “iconoclasm” is weighted with a long history of religious significance, from the Byzantine war on religious icons of the 8th- and 9th-centuries and the Protestant reformation in the 16th century, to the Taliban’s destruction of the Buddhas of Bamyan in the 21st century. But the idea of destroying or defacing images, especially images that convey aspects of cultural dominance or, conversely, pose a threat to that dominance, is as often political as religious: think of the Chinese Cultural Revolution or graffiti moustaches. Political iconoclasm, unlike religious iconoclasm, does not object to representation as such but rather to certain images that have been granted the status of icons. However, any act of desecrating symbols of authority itself often takes on iconic status: take, for example, photos of the pulling down of statues from Romania to Iraq.
Iconoclasm need not be visual and material and can also take abstract and intellectual forms. Subversive, transgressive, blasphemous writing is also iconoclastic in inspiration and function. Moreover, the power associated with images in general and iconic images in particular has often inspired writers to subdue the power of images or to wrest it for themselves. The ekphrastic contest between literature, or verbal representation, and images, or visual representation, is very often iconoclastic in nature.
Contemporary media culture floods us with images and alters their impact, creating ever more sophisticated organized cults around them, such as celebrity, high art, advertising, the news, etc. Just as the word “icon” has acquired new meanings, ranging from signs for computer applications to logos and celebrity, so, too, iconoclasm, the urge to deface, destroy, or alter images, takes on wholly new meanings.
We will examine a wide range of iconoclastic moments in order to understand the political, ethical, and aesthetic stakes involved in challenging the signifying power of the iconic image. Is there a tradition of iconoclasm or is the modern icon and thus modern iconoclasm something new? Is iconoclasm even possible, or does it always participate in the forces of iconicity, creating, in effect, iconoclastic icons?


Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon Condemns Anti-LGBT Violence at Historic UN Hearing as Muslim, African Leaders Walk Out:

Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon Condemns Anti-LGBT Violence at Historic UN Hearing as Muslim, African Leaders Walk Out:
I stand with you and I call upon all countries and people to stand with you too. A historic shift is underway. More states see the gravity of the problem…We must tackle the violence, decriminalize consensual same-sex relationships, end discrimination and educate the public."
Several leaders from Islamic and African nations from the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation walked out, Think Progress LGBT reports:
A diplomat from Pakistan described homosexuality as “licentious behavior promoted under the concept of ‘sexual orientation’ is against the fundamental teachings of various religions including Islam.” He added, “From this perspective, legitimizing homosexuality and other personal sexual behaviors in the name of sexual orientation is unacceptable to the OIC,” he added.
Representatives from Nigeria joined the walkout, “saying that violence against citizens based on their sexual orientation or gender identity simply didn’t occur in the state, while Mauritania, of another Arab group, all of whose members are also in the OIC, warned that any so-called attempt to impose ‘the controversial topic of sexual orientation’ would threaten to undermine progress on other human rights issues


What If...There Was No Religious/Secular Divide? Mar 14, Hart House

(24) What If...There Was No Religious/Secular Divide?
Medhi is debating on Wednesday at Hart House, 5pm.
He is taking the secular position, of course.
Come support him if you can!

Wednesday; March 14(PI DAY !!)
5:00pm until 6:00pm
Map Room, Hart House, 7 Hart House Circle, University

S4P: the Traffic in Nannies: The exploitation of femal labour? March 8, UC

Science For Peace presents a Free public lecture at 4-6pm on March 8, 2012 in Room 087 of University College (15 Kings College Circle, Toronto, ON)

SPEAKER: Susan McClelland, Toronto-based Investigative Journalist Susan is the winner of the 2005 and 2008 Amnesty International Media Award for excellence in human rights reporting.
This lecture is part of the Vital Discussions of Human Security series which is co-sponsored by University College Health Studies Programme, Canadian Pugwash Group, Science for Peace and Voice of Women for Peace.


An atheist's defence of religion - The Globe and Mail

An atheist's defence of religion - The Globe and Mail
(we suggested Toronto humanists might enjoy Alain’s talk at the AGO last month – if anyone went, let us know your impressions)
. This article in the G&M was forwarded by several members…
Religion is wrong for all the right reasons. So says Alain de Botton, a schismatic atheist who has caused a stir among militant non-believers by insisting that they have a lot to learn from the world’s great faiths.
In his controversial new book, Religion for Atheists, the 42-year-old Swiss-born Englishman – whose atheist father founded Global Asset Management – castigates the mocking tone deployed by celebrity atheists to attack the supernatural side of faith. Instead of debating dogma, he thinks it is smarter to steal organized religion’s best ideas: the art and architecture, spirit of community and humbling perspective on humanity that have kept belief systems going strong for centuries….