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Lecture: “The Fabric of Faiths: How Headwear Makes Religion Real” with Dr. John McCormack

Hosted by The Ruthmere Foundation, Inc.

Join Dr. John McCormack, associate professor of history at Aurora University, as he examines the role of hats in religious rituals—including how hats help express identity, share spiritual aspirations and bind together members of a community.

August 8
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm EDT
Ruthmere Museum Campus/Havilah Beardsley House
102 W. Beardsley Ave.
Elkhart, IN 46514

Event Details

As part of its Global Language of Headwear: Cultural Identity, Rites of Passage, and Spirituality exhibit, Ruthmere will host Dr. John McCormack for a talk on “The Fabric of Faiths: How Headwear Makes Religion Real.”

Hats are more than mere fashion statements—constructing, embellishing and wearing hats is an essential way in which a community’s religious beliefs are brought to life. Looking closely at some remarkable objects in The Global Language of Headwear, Dr. McCormack explores how they function in religious rituals, express the identity and spiritual aspirations of peoples and bind together members of a community.

Dr. McCormack is an associate professor of religion and history at Aurora University. He specializes in the history of Christianity, religion and politics, world religions, and early modern Europe, France and Latin America. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history and master’s degree in religion from Yale University and both a master’s degree and doctorate in history from the University of Notre Dame.

The Global Language of Headwear runs from July 5 to September 27 at Ruthmere. It features 89 hats and headdresses from 42 countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and North and South America—a tribute to the stunning diversity of the world’s cultures. With a few exceptions, the pieces are from the mid-to-late 20th century, and many are still worn today in parts of the world for revelry, ritual and the rhythms of everyday life. More than utilitarian objects of material culture, each hat is a unique work of art—not merely because of the skill required to make it, but also as a singular expression of creativity and cultural meaning. The hats and headdresses communicate timeless ideas—not only of beauty, but also of what it means to be human.

Admission to Dr. McCormack’s talk is free for Ruthmere members and $5 for nonmembers; it includes a pass to view the exhibit.

For more information about the exhibit and Dr. McCormack’s talk, visit Ruthmere’s website, call 888.287.7696 or email info@ruthmere.org.

This program received support from an Indiana Humanities Action Grant.