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School of History

Religion, Nakedness and the Human Form

When: Tuesday, January 31, 2023, 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Where: Graduate Centre Mile End Road GC601 Montagu Lecture Theatre, Queen Mary University of London London E1 4NS

This lecture explores how Christianity has understood, monitored and sought to control nakedness

‘Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?’ Religion, Nakedness and the Human Form

The human body has always been a central religious concern: from exhortations to fight temptation and desire, to honouring the body as a temple and clothing the body to connote adherence and religiosity, it has invariably been a focal point of theological and religious anxiety. The unclothed body was, for the most part, an even greater threat to the authority claimed by religious leaders than one concealed by garments. The naked human has long been (and remains) a religious battleground, heralded by some as a barometer of the threat or promise of secularisation, and by others as an issue with considerable doctrinal significance. This lecture explores how Christianity in particular has understood, monitored and sought to control nakedness, demonstrating the remarkable tenacity of these fears over a long period and in a variety of locations.

Philippa Levine, Professor at the Department of History at University of Texas at Austin and Global Professorial Fellow at Queen Mary University of London.

Her research interests are the British Empire; intersections of race and gender; science, medicine and society.

Professor Levine has been a Visiting Fellow, Australian National University Research School of Social Sciences (2018); Marta Sutton Weeks External Senior Faculty Fellow, Stanford Humanities Center (2017-18); Guggenheim Fellowship (2007-8); Resident Fellow, Bellagio Center, Rockefeller Foundation (2002);. She has also held various visiting fellowships in Australia, Britain, Ireland, and Canada, plus research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Institutes of Health.

A drinks reception reception will follow the lecture.

All are welcome, but please register to join.

This event is co-organised with the School of History at Queen Mary University of London.

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