Journal, Religions: Mobilization of Art and Religion in the Hispanic World: The Intersections of Race, Religion, Gender, and Objects c. 1500-1800,

Journal, Religions: Mobilization of Art and Religion in the Hispanic World: The Intersections of Race, Religion, Gender, and Objects c. 1500-1800

Dr. C. Cody Barteet, Guest Editor; Iraboty Kazi, Guest Editor Assistant; Dr. Alena Robin, Guest Editor (Journal, Religions)
Journal, Religions
From - Until
16.09.2022 -
Connections Redaktion, Leipzig Research Centre Global Dynamics, Universität Leipzig

By considering the mobility of peoples, objects, themes, and other social constructs throughout the global Spanish territories, we explore the intersection of disparate religious traditions to consider the formation of new cultural knowledges and practices through the appropriation, assimilation, commodification, fetishization, marginalization, and hybridization of objects and practices.

Journal, Religions: Mobilization of Art and Religion in the Hispanic World: The Intersections of Race, Religion, Gender, and Objects c. 1500-1800

In recent years, academic interest in the movement of people, objects, and ideas has risen significantly, driven by the desire to develop a fuller understanding of history and our current globalized world (Beaudry and Paron 2013, Corcoran-Tadd, Hung et. al. 2021). These interests have forced us to reconsider knowledge, art, spatial, religious, and historical formations, prior to, during, and after the colonial era, as we have recognized for several decades now that colonialism was formalized and transgressed by virtually all peoples involved (Hofman and Keehnen 2018). Further, objects, styles, concepts, and other material artifacts traversed oceans and continents (Callligaro, Chiappero et. al. 2019, Hamann 2010, Hyman 2017). We look to consider the intersections of Hispanic cultural traditions with European (whether Jewish, Islamic, Catholic, or Protestant), Indigenous/First Nations, Afro-Latin American/Afro-Caribbean, and Asian-Latin American in a developing global world. By considering the mobility of peoples, objects, themes, and other social constructs throughout the global Spanish territories, we explore the intersection of disparate religious traditions to consider the formation of new cultural knowledges and practices through the appropriation, assimilation, commodification, fetishization, marginalization, and hybridization of objects and practices.

We invite contributors to submit their research in English for consideration. Please note that there is a two-stage submission procedure. We will first collect a title and short abstract (maximum 250 words), 5 keywords, and a short bio (150 words), by 16 September 2022, via email to Dr. Cody Barteet (, Iraboty Kazi (, and Dr. Alena Robin ( Before 16 October 2022, we will invite selected abstracts to be submitted as 7000- to 9000-word papers for peer review by 1 February 2023. Journal publication is expected in mid- to late 2023, depending on the revision time needed after peer review. Each article will be published open access on a rolling basis after successfully passing peer review.

You may recall seeing the CFP ealier. Since this an electronic publications we have been offered the opportunity to expand our content; likewise we recognize that the lessening of covid restrictions has allowed for more research travel. The expected deadlines for delivery of final papers remains the same, but all abstracts should be submitted by September 16th 2022. Please note: all abstracts we select and papers put forward for peer-review will have their submission fees waived.

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


- mobility
- religious art
- cultural artifacts
- Hispanic world
- transatlantic
- transpacific
- transcontinental
- race
- gender

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Beads and Ceremony: The Collision of Pan-American, European, African, and Asian Bead Networks in the Sixteenth-Century Spanish Empire
Abstract: A powerful bead network that wove together a transcontinental tapestry of cultures predated the Spanish invasion of the Americas. Beads created in the northeastern Atlantic world found themselves in Aztec and Incan territories, as did beads made from rocks found in the Pacific northwest, all of which had been borne along trade networks that have existed for ages. Sixteenth-century illustrations found in the Mexican codices demonstrate the traditional manufacture of beads, which were used for a range of quotidian and ceremonial purposes. Since medieval times Spaniards employed beads, called rescate, as currency for inequitable trade, whether for slaves or precious metals. The Spanish invasion introduced beads manufactured in other parts of the world to the Americas, and vice versa, American beads made their way into Spanish clothing and religious objects such as the rosary. A significant infusion of new beads from Spain rushed into the American bead network in the sixteenth century, some of which had international origins from places such as Venice, India, and west Africa. As material objects, beads negotiated intercultural relationships in powerful ways throughout the Spanish empire: beads were involved in treaties, territorial agreements, prayer, spiritual relations, wayfinding, and most importantly, ceremony. This article maps out the collision of bead networks within the sixteenth century Spanish empire so to flesh out the similar and innovative uses of beads, whether among Native American, Afro-descendant, or European communities, and their connection to spiritual and ceremonial practices.

Title: Echoes of Obsidian: Escudos de Monjas and the Marian Teixiptla of Colonial Mexico
Abstract: Prior examinations of colonial paintings on metal in New Spain referred to as escudos de monjas compare these “Nuns’ Shields” to small devotional badges worn by Spanish nuns in Iberia and so explain them as an European construct transferred to New Spain. I theorize a far-more culturally intersectional genesis for escudos as typologically echoing indigenous, pre-colonial artefacts made of obsidian and appropriated for performative use by Christian nuns for the sake of evangelization. Escudos originated in an enactment of evangelizing hybridity by enfolding aspects of Aztec materiality within orthodox Christian spirituality and visuality. "Nuns' shields" maintained the physical form and religious idea of the Aztec, obsidian discs known as "mirrors" (that manifested visions of the divine, i.e., scrying) but changed the underlying material from precious stone to inexpensive metal and presented a Christian theophany. This process of fusion so completely succeeded that the memory of the Aztec object faded until the culturally intersectional genesis of escudos disappeared. Hence, escudos neutralized the memory of the Aztec prototype with an acceptably Christian analogue and so, in effect, exemplified the larger enterprise of physical and mental colonization that marked New Spain in the growth of what would become an identifiably unique, Mexican "interculture."

Title: “‘If he is converted’”: A New Spanish Feather Work Ecce Homo in Southeastern Africa
Abstract: In recent years, scholars have paid increasing attention to the material, spiritual, and collecting histories of both pre-invasion and viceregal New Spanish (Mexican) feather works. Rapidly and globally disseminated through religious and family networks, such objects travelled from Mexico to Spain, and other locations, before the end of the sixteenth century. Among Iberian elites, these works featuring Christian imagery were not mere curiosities. Rather, as Luisa Elena Alcalá has argued, they were employed as effective (if rare and materially rich) Counter-Reformatory devotional images. This article explores the little-known history of a devotional feather work Ecce Homo sent from Portugal to southeastern Africa in 1569. Originally a gift to Sebastian I from the Spanish Indies, the Ecce Homo later entered the collection of Catherine of Austria, Sebastian’s grandmother. Catherine presented it to the Jesuits accompanying the Portuguese evangelizing and gold-seeking mission to Mutapa, a vast kingdom that encompassed parts of present-day Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and South Africa. Its intended recipient was the Mutapa king. However, this was not a gift meant to grease the wheels of diplomacy, nor was it designated as a tool for conversion: it was, instead, meant for the Mutapa king “se se convertese”—if he is converted. That is, it was conceived as a gift from one Catholic monarch to another, for use in personal devotion. The perceived spiritual efficacy of these images — themselves recently assimilated to the Iberian Catholic realm from the pagan American one — thus extended well beyond the Iberian peninsula.

Title: “Sacred to the Lord”: The Material Conversion of the Cammarata Finials
Abstract: Two architectonic liturgical staffs displayed today in the Diocesan Museum of Palma, Spain, treasure a unique history. Before being offered to the Cathedral of Palma at the end of the fifteenth century, these objects belonged to the Jewish community of Cammarata, Sicily. Back in their original setting, the two objects—called Torah finials or rimmonim (in Hebrew, “pomegranates”)—were set on top of the rods around which the Torah scroll was rolled up. With the expulsion of Jews from all Aragonese territories in 1492, the Jews of Cammarata were made to sell their valuables and wander to other lands. Thus, the finials were sold to a wealthy Mallorcan merchant, who donated them to the Cathedral of Palma. Although engraved with Hebrew inscriptions testifying to their history, the finials were nonetheless incorporated into the local Christian liturgy and thought, continuing well into the twentieth century. This paper will follow the journey of the two finials, starting with their performance in the Cammarata synagogue, through their relocation to Palma, and into their assimilation within the cathedral’s liturgy. It will discuss their function in each environment, examine how they were understood by different audiences, and observe their conversion process from Jewish ceremonial objects to ecclesiastical implements. Special attention will be given to the finials’ materiality and design. These key elements played a significant role in the finials’ migration between religious groups and social contexts and allowed them to be assigned with different meanings.

Title: Sacred Pathways, Urban Praxis: Spatial Devotion to the Virgin Mary and Oricha Yemayá at Regla, Cuba
Abstract: The ferry from Havana to Regla, Cuba takes about twenty minutes at a cost of twenty centavos in the national currency, approximately one dime USD. Despite its brevity, this watery passage symbolically foregrounds the Marian devotion on the other side of the harbor. Water conjoins African diasporic memory and colonial history within the bay of Havana into which the two urban geographies project. Regla served as a small municipality for dock workers and ship wrights in the colonial period, as it has historically been a working enclave of free people of African descent. The Church of Our Lady of Regla that faces the harbor houses effigies of the much-venerated Virgin of Regla, invariably adorned in blue, one of the two most important Marian devotions on the island of Cuba and the focus of a site of insular and diasporic pilgrimage. Her nautical iconography decorates the sanctuary and connects her historically to the working populations who have sustained this devotion as they serviced the Havana harbor. Adjacent to the church is a waterfront park that overlooks the water and the city of Havana beyond. Bounded on one side by a low wall, the park incorporates a large ceiba tree, the ceiba pentandra, also known as the silk cotton or kapok tree, a tropical species with a large trunk and spreading tree canopy native to Mexico and Central America, the Caribbean, northern South America, and West Africa (with a similar variety found in South and Southeast Asia). This article examines the spatial devotion to the Virgin of Regla at the site between church and tree, which involves ritualized performances that evolved within a modern/colonial urban praxis of Cuba.

Title: Tuscan Patronage and Flemish Painting in a Sicilian Context: Intersections, Assimilations, and Conflicts in the Eighteenth-Century Hispanic World
Abstract: In the early-modern time, Sicilian nobility was active in a stimulating network referring to the Spanish Empire and other European courts, as well as to North African countries. This led to multiple cultural contaminations. At the same time, though, the strategic position of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea made the island a bulwark of the Most Catholic Spanish Empire against the Islamic world. Throughout the period, the pirates infested the Mediterranean and the slave trade was a lucrative business for many. Fears and suspicions towards the inhabitants of the opposite shore were constant and affected the art production. Drawing on a global perspective, this paper argues that in the early eighteenth century a deceptive coverage of the matter was pursued, which nonetheless reinforced discriminatory attitudes. To do this, the paper explores the frescoes by the Flemish painter Guglielmo Borremans (1670–1744) in the church of the Forty Martyrs of the Pisan Nation, in Palermo. These frescoes testify to the mobility of peoples, objects, and social constructs throughout the Spanish territories. Yet they also tie together the prejudicial perspectives of three different peoples, in pastel-toned images. The clarity and luminosity of the design suggest the dominance of some over others as inevitable, thus producing discriminatory attitudes and practices.

Title: A Transatlantic Tale of Monsters and Virgins: Our Lady Sorrows and the Crocodile
Abstract: In 1748, an image of Our Lady of Sorrows brought from Mexico by Marcos Torres, an Indiano born in Tenerife who made his fortune in New Spain, was enthroned with a festivity and sermon. The image of the virgin was accompanied by a stuffed crocodile that can be still seen in the shrine. Torres claimed the Virgin saved him from the crocodile in Mexico and the animal became an extreme form of exvoto, an allegory, remembering him and fellow countrymen of the dangers and perils of becoming rich in the New World. The material history of these sacred objects transformed this singular Canarian shrine into a hybrid kind of Wunderkabinet, filled with American objects of devotion and local pieces. I would like to explore how the material history of sacred objects can reveal information about their devotion, but also the circumstances surrounding them. In this case, the perils of transatlantic travel and American landscape for a foreigner as the Indiano, and how this materiality was explained and recontextualized in a new setting, reconfigured as a hybrid space hosting American devotions and peculiar exvotos. The material transformation of the shrine will speak of cultural practices and material dimensions of images in transoceanic situations. I suggest that new inquiries on culture and society, class and race can be made by studying religious materiality in the interception between European iconography and its resignification in the New World, from global perspectives of travel and circulation, and by the material turn of transatlantic religions.

Contact (announcement)

Dr. Cody Barteet (
Iraboty Kazi (
Dr. Alena Robin (