Nella Pelle Into the Skin

Dr William Purkis has just returned from the international and multi-disciplinary conference Into the Skin, which was held in Vatican City on 5–6 December 2011. The conference, which was organised by the Israeli ambassador to the Holy See, Mordechay Lewy, and the Anastasis Association, brought together scholars working on the history and symbolism of permanent body-marking (tattooing, branding and scarification) and focused in particular on how such practices might be understood as expressions of identity.

The conference has generated considerable international media interest. To date, reports have appeared in more than 100 newspapers and news websites, including ABC, CBS, The China Post and The Washington Post. Dr Purkis’s contribution to the conference, which considered the significance of medieval crusaders marking their bodies with the sign of the cross as a form of religious stigmatism, was discussed further in a report posted by the Catholic News Service.