Devotions of Desire: Changing Gods, Changing People at a Transylvanian Pilgrimage Site
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CitationLoustau, Marc Roscoe. 2015. Devotions of Desire: Changing Gods, Changing People at a Transylvanian Pilgrimage Site. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Divinity School.
AbstractThis dissertation describes how desiring subjects make devotional worlds in times of radical change. I argue that what is centrally at stake for people who pass through the Şumuleu Ciuc (Hungarian: Csíksomlyó) pilgrimage site in Transylvania, Romania is the question of what makes a good Catholic in relation to the Virgin Mary. Disputes about this question revolve around notions of the desiring subject: What role should forms of sexual, material, and affective self-interest – or lack thereof – play in the life of Mary’s devotees and the life of the Mother of God herself? This formulation of desire and change as intersubjective and relational processes involving divine and human beings breaks new ground among dominantly sociological and symbolic studies of religious change in contemporary Eastern Europe.
Chapter One broadly outlines 20th and 21st century social transformations in the Ciuc valley. Chapter Two explores the annual Pentecost pilgrimage event as a ritual intricately caught up in everyday processes of emerging post-socialist masculine subject formation. Chapter Three tells the story of a young woman’s vision of the Virgin Mary that resulted in the installation of a new statue and shrine at the pilgrimage site. Where other scholars have treated similar events in terms of abstract political processes of resacralizing and nationalizing post-socialist space and time, I seek to re-site the “politics” of the shrine in the tension between religious experience and semiotic form. Chapter Four blends phenomenological and pragmatist theories of materiality to address recent infrastructural transformations to the pilgrimage site as efforts to “remodel Mary’s home.” One set of new structures outside at the shrine materialize and enact the ambivalent search for a post-socialist lay Catholic leading class that I introduced in Chapter One. Chapter Five takes up my previous concern with gender in order to examine women’s Marian healing practices in secular post-socialist hospitals. Chapter Six beings with a consideration of the intersubjective politics of storytelling and the new role played at Csíksomlyó by the global Catholic radio network, The World Family of Radio Maria.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:15821961