The 2014 Faculty Project Development Group (PDG) Grant has been awarded to Professors Niklaus Largier (German and Comparative Literature) and David Marno (English) for their collaborative project, Poetics of Prayer. The goal of the project is to develop a rhetoric and poetics of prayer from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century in tandem with prayer’s echoes in early modern and modern literature. The funds will support research, workshops, monthly meetings, and visiting speakers.
Professors Largier and Marno describe the project as follows:
“A large body of seemingly secular literature and art from the Renaissance to Romanticism and modernity turns out, upon closer examination, to imitate, appropriate, or reflect on prayers. In this project, we will close read late antique, medieval, and early modern theological and devotional texts in order to reconstruct the genres of prayer, the material technologies that are at stake, and the ways in which prayer engages questions of rhetoric and poetics. Our goal is to understand how prayer is meant to shape attention, perception, and expression in its original devotional contexts, and how prayer’s original functions are repurposed in its literary afterlives.”
BCSR PDGs provide venues for small groups of UC Berkeley faculty to begin collaboration on larger-scale projects related to the study of religion. Large-scale collaboration in the humanities and the social sciences is often prohibitively difficult both to organize and to fund. The PDG program seeks to ease these difficulties by providing a congenial framework for intellectual exploration, as well as support for grant writing initiatives.