Angels, 'Raptured Ready' Bodies and Marvel Heroes: Modalities of Relating to the Sky in Western Culture
My paper will investigate power discourses reflected in different modalities of relating to the sky, in myth and artistic representation, in Western culture. For this purpose I will employ a broad historical perspective and make use of critical discourse analysis as a theoretical approach. Angels represent a key representation of heavenly beings and, it can be argued, a model for relating to the Sky. Hence, like scholars have shown, early conceptualisations of aliens follow this model, with aliens appearing as benevolent intermediaries and adjutants. This mode of relating can be investigated as a claim to authority and power, by invoking an all powerful ally, and some scholars and writers have noted this, particularly in what aliens are concerned. To investigate this further I will attempt to establish a comparison between the communication between angels and saints in late antiquity and modern 'rapture-ready' discourses, and claim that becoming 'rapture-ready' might be understood as an empowered and embodied modality of aspiring to the celestial realm. Moreover I will explore the political dimensions of the applications of the angelic model of relating to the sky in the fictional Marvel universe, and enquire into how this analysis can offer insights about individual and collective relationships, aspirations and emotions.
Maria Nita is a tutor at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and a lecturer at the University of South Wales. She is the author of Praying and Campaigning with Environmental Christians: Green Religion and the Climate Movement (New York: Palgrave 2016). Maria's current research interests include: Christian festivals and retreats, green spirituality, religious identities and constructions of sacred spaces, the mediation and representation of emotion in collective settings.