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

Preliminary abstract: This research project explores the production and politics of neo-Byzantine iconography and its resurgence amongst Christians in Palestine. By looking at the production of icons, my project aims to understand Christian experience and religious and cultural transformations within the fraught and contested terrain of the Holy Land. Since the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 and the beginning of the Occupation of Palestine in 1967, 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 in Palestine. This study will require multi-cited research at three local iconography schools, one of the Eastern Orthodox, and two of the Roman Catholic tradition, in order to understand their pedagogies and theology. What religious idioms do they produce, and do they have any redemptive possibility for an inclusive, multi-sectarian Christian community. This project’s examination of the Holy Land through the production of neo-Byzantine icons allows for a tracing of Christianity as a living process of Palestinian Christian imagining. A key intervention of this research project is to understand the implications of international actors and benefactors involved in this project of building iconography schools and workshops. Cognisant of the long history of Western colonial involvement in Palestine, this study aims to understand the role of Christian imagination in shaping material, religious and political programs.