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December 18, 2013

Prayers to Santa

Playful phenomena often reveal hidden or unacknowledged elements in the practice of prayer. Postcard images of praying children were widely circulated throughout the early twentieth century, and these representations of childhood piety helped to solidify particular understandings of prayer within the popular imaginary. These illustrations, moreover, provide a colorful testament to the “apparatus of belief,” or the ways in which the performative and experiential dimensions of prayer are inextricably related to physical objects that open communicative relays between the everyday and the sacred.

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