Skip to main content


Showing posts from September, 2021

Places in Motion - Reading Response 2

Places in Motion: The Fluid Identities of Temples, Images, and Pilgrims by Jacob N. Kinnard. Thoughts on Chapters 4 & 5 I was most struck this week by what Kinnard refers to as “the “museumizing” of the temple complex” (pg 119), especially via the UNESCO World Heritage Site determination process. The mentality of imaging there is an “original” state to which the otherwise “active and fluid place” of the “living temple” (pg 118) should be returned, and then subsequently frozen in time to be “preserved” like an insect in amber, is mind-boggling to me in relation to an active religious site. Even if it were a genuinely disused archaeological ruin, the idea of ‘returning’ it to some imagined original form could be problematic – but in light of the current usage of this site I cannot comprehend how altering what is there currently could be anything other than destructive to how it is being used. I was particularly provoked by what Kinnard called “the ambiguities of preservation” (

Places in Motion - Reading Response 1

Places in Motion: The Fluid Identities of Temples, Images, and Pilgrims by Jacob N. Kinnard. Thoughts on Chapters 1-3 The thing which struck me most from these chapters was actually where Kinnard discusses the blurred identities of the Buddha/Vishnu footprints around Bodhgaya and Gaya. I was especially intrigued by the part on page 78 where he mentions asking Bodhgaya pilgrims over the course of years regarding the origin of the footprints. He explained that when asked whether they were the footprints of Vishnu the pilgrims would answer ‘yes’, but they would do the same if asked if they were Buddha’s footprints. Kinnard noted the same person looking at the same image would see “two interwoven or overlapping identities.” As if to say that the footprints were, for those pilgrims, holy (and meaningful) regardless of their origin. And, in fact, they might even be doubly holy if attributable to both figures. Or as Kinnard wrote, “[w]hy limit oneself to one or the other when one can hav

It got much worse

After my last post things got even worse in the form of a fire which destroyed the house where my parents were living and killed three of our dogs. Since then I've been back on Zoloft, my mom has been in the hospital (and a nursing home) trying to heal a broken femur, and my dad moved in here. It's been one of those moments when the entire boat of your life capsizes, leaving you treading water and unsure of how you even ended up in that situation.     That's about all I can manage to say about these past four months right now - I'm not a person who processes feelings contemporaneously - I shut down and go into survival mode (resorting to whatever coping mechanism carries the day). This house here has been coming along, slowly but surely, and I started my final undergrad semester last month - it consists of a required public speaking course and the capstone course. The capstone is covering sacred spaces and places of pilgrimage (instructor's choice) so anticipate (or