The Power to Name, Define, and Represent: Exploring Influences from a Study of Religion Perspective

By Sheila F. Winborne.

Published by The International Journal of Diverse Identities

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam each recognize the Hebrew Bible as sacred text. In the Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible, it is told that God gave the first man Adam the power to name the animals as a sign of Adam and humanity’s dominion over the animals. In other words, the power to have greater influences on outcomes goes to the one who is accepted as having the recognized authority to name or define another. What ethics are involved in the power to name, define, and represent? This paper will argue that visual culture has individual and communal ethical significances, in that it plays major roles in how morals, social preferences, and beliefs are transmitted and understood outside as well as within our primary communities of experience. Understanding the history and contemporary value of visual communication development, interpretation, and influences on our lives has never been more important than it is in our twenty-first century visual media-saturated societies.

Keywords: Power, Naming and Defining, Visual Culture, Representing the "Other", Study of Religion

International Journal of Diverse Identities, Volume 13, Issue 2, January 2015, pp.1-11. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 204.355KB).

Dr. Sheila F. Winborne

Visiting Lecturer, Department of Philosophy and Religion, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA