Connie Gagliardi

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Toronto, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9334

Approve Date

October 5, 2016

Project Title

Gagliardi, Connie Marie, U. of Toronto, Toronto, Canada - To aid research on 'The Craft of Iconography: Re-Imagining the Holy Land,' supervised by Dr. Valentina Napolitano

CONNIE GAGLIARDI, then a graduate student at University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, was awarded funding in October 2016 to aid research on ‘The Craft of Iconography: Re-Imagining the Holy Land,’ supervised by Dr. Valentina Napolitano. This research explores the production and politics of neo-Byzantine iconography and its resurgence amongst Christians in Palestine. By looking at the production of icons, this project investigates Christian experience and religious and cultural transformations within the fraught terrain of the Holy Land. Since the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, the presence and minority status of Palestinian Christians has become increasingly precarious. Local iconography schools intend to revive an indigenous, Arab Christian craft in the hopes of restoring a Christian presence and rejuvenating Christian spirituality in Palestine. This project offers a unique view, highlighting the ways in which Palestinian Christian world views are shaped by the presence and production of icons, but also by historical forces such as the Israeli Occupation. A key intervention of this project interrogates the role of international actors involved in this project of building iconography schools. It situates them within the larger history of Western colonial involvement in Palestine, as well as within recent theorizations on the ambivalent affects induced by the NGO framework in contemporary Palestine. Research methods included participant observation in iconography schools and workshops, interviews with religious clergy and Palestinian artists and art collectors, and observation of public religious rituals.