Sarah A. Riccardi and Aaron Sokoll
Sarah A. Riccardi graduated in May 2014 with an M.A. in Religious Studies at Missouri State University. Her thesis is an ethnographic inquiry into the material and sensory cultures, domestic devotions, and religious social lives of American Eastern Orthodox Christians in the rural Missouri Ozarks. In September, she will start a Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology at New York University, where her work will focus on the relationship(s) between ethno-religious identity and materiality in Russian Orthodox diaspora groups in the United States. Along with Aaron Sokoll, she is the co-convener of a panel on constructions of female religious identity in contemporary Orthodoxy at the upcoming national American Academy of Religion conference in San Diego, California, this November.
Aaron J. Sokoll is a doctoral candidate in Religious Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is writing his dissertation on a group of former Evangelical Christians who converted to Eastern Orthodoxy in 1987. His research interests are in conversion, religious identity, race and religion, religion and politics, civil religion, and Eastern Orthodoxy in America. He is a co-convener (with Sarah Riccardi) of a panel on constructions of female religious identity in contemporary Orthodoxy at the upcoming national American Academy of Religion conference in San Diego, California, this November.
Posts by Sarah A. Riccardi and Aaron Sokoll
This article is an extension of Connective Implications of the Material Holy, our essay on Orthodox material and sensory cultures that was published here on Reverberations last fall. Eastern Orthodox worship, prayer, and devotional activities are composed of sensory and material cultures that are deployed and employed through kinetic, embodied gestures and rituals, both vernacular and institutional.
In the “Praying with the Senses” prayer portal, seven scholars investigating Eastern Orthodoxy offer essays on the sensory aspects of prayer and devotionalism, highlighting how the modalities of prayer affect its efficacy. This portal also allows for reflection and questioning about the role of haptic and visual encounters with the sacred during prayer, about the relational and communal ties between the socio-religious networks of Orthodox Christians—both living and celestial—and about how these encounters and bonds affect the identities of practitioners in corporate and individual ways.