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The Sacred Feminine: Prehistory to Postmodernity National Symposium

Interdisciplinary symposium on women, religion, and the visual record

Sacred Feminine illustratonOctober 16–17, 2009

This interdisciplinary symposium examines the role of women in religion from antiquity to the present, as reflected in the visual record. Open to all interested. No registration fee required. Exhibition information.

Symposium made possible through the collaborative efforts of: Museum of Art and Archaeology; College of Arts and Sciences, Grimshaw Distinguished College Lecture Series; Center for the Arts and Humanities; Center on Religions and the Professions; Department of Art History and Archaeology; Department of Religious Studies; Department of Women’s and Gender Studies; Student Organization Resource Group (ORG); Museum Advisory Council of Students (MACS).

Download the symposium schedule (pdf).

October 16, 2009 - Friday, 5:30 - 7:30pm, Gallery of Greek and Roman Casts, Pickard Hall
National Symposium: The Sacred Feminine: Prehistory to Postmodernity

Public reception for speakers, followed by a screening of Cecil B. Demille’s Cleopatra (1934), newly remastered by UCLA Film School, at 7pm.

Galleries open until 8pm.

October 17, 2009 - Saturday, 9am - 5pm, 106 Pickard Hall
National Symposium: The Sacred Feminine: Prehistory to Postmodernity

Morning Session, 9:00am - 12:00pm, Pickard Hall 106

Opening Remarks
Alex Barker
Director, Museum of Art and Archaeology

Kristin Schwain
Dept. of Art History and Archaeology, University of Missouri
Generating Taste and Turmoil: the Madonna in American Art

Karen Winstead
Dept. of English, Ohio State University
Visualizing Saint Katherine of Alexandria: Scholar, Soldier, Sovereign, and Lady

Coffee Break, Gallery of Greek and Roman Casts

Alison Futrell
Dept. of History, University of Arizona
Immortal Longings: Cleopatra the Goddess

Loriliai Biernacki
Dept. of Religious Studies, University of Colorado at Boulder
Women in the Tantric Sex Rite or How to Keep a Secret

Lunch Break, 12:30 - 2:00pm

Afternoon Session, 2:00 - 5:30pm, Pickard Hall 106

Robert Baum
Dept. of Religious Studies, University of Missouri
Women Prophets, Priests, and Deities in West African Religions

Kathy Gaca
Dept. of Classics, Vanderbilt University
From Aphrodite to Antichrist: Greek Goddesses and Their Demolition in Early Christianity

Coffee Break, Gallery of Greek and Roman Casts

Cathleen Fleck
Lecturer in the Jewish, Islamic and Near Eastern Studies Program and Assistant Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis
Virtual Pilgrimage: a Woman’s Perspective of the Holy Sites of Thirteenth-Century Jerusalem

Read Mercer Schuchardt
Dept. of Communications, Wheaton College
On the Cinematic Evolution and Strange Mutation of the Femme Fatale

Keynote Address

Diane Apostolos-Cappadona
Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding; Graduate Liberal Studies Program; Catholic Studies Program, Georgetown University
Fruit of Pleasure, Source of Sustenance, Object of Shame: On the Naked Breast of the Feminine Divine

NOTE: The symposium is open to all interested and does not require prior registration. Visitors are invited to come and go as they like, and attend some or all of the lectures. For further information, contact Benton Kidd, Curator of Ancient Art, at 573.882.5073 or

Download the symposium schedule (pdf).

Also see The Sacred Feminine Associated Programming.

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