AccueilThings and spirits: new approaches to materiality and immateriality

Things and spirits: new approaches to materiality and immateriality

Things and Spirits: new approaches to materiality and immateriality

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Publié le mardi 20 avril 2010 par Marie Pellen

Résumé

This conference is aimed at exploring new ways of approaching the tensional and intimate connections between ‘things’ and ‘spirits’ across distinct practices and epistemologies. In recent decades, the theme of materiality has gained wider currency and centrality in social sciences and anthropological theory. A growing number of scholars in the anthropology of religion, material culture studies, and history and sociology of science and technology have been reexamining the partition between humans, material objects, and immaterial entities, along with the ideas of agency, evidence, and materiality itself.

Annonce

This conference is aimed at exploring new ways of approaching the tensional and intimate connections between ‘things’ and ‘spirits’ across distinct practices and epistemologies. In recent decades, the theme of materiality has gained wider currency and centrality in social sciences and anthropological theory. A growing number of scholars in the anthropology of religion, material culture studies, and history and sociology of science and technology have been reexamining the partition between humans, material objects, and immaterial entities, along with the ideas of agency, evidence, and materiality itself. A double shift towards (i) a radically generalized view of agency and (ii) the ontological complexity of things, spirits, and humans is cutting across distinct approaches in the anthropology of religion, science studies, and material culture studies. However, although they seem to share a novel attention to the tropes of materiality and agency, they do not necessarily agree with the angles from which these issues should be analyzed. Moreover, the extent to which the themes of immateriality and spirituality should be accorded analytical weight is unequally present throughout these approaches. For example, if it seems clear that “spirits” must have a place in the study of religion it is less obvious how the study of immaterialities would look like in the analysis of scientific and technological artefacts.

By bringing these scholarly approaches into closer dialogue, the conference Things and Spirits: New Approaches to Materiality and Immateriality aims at developing new perspectives and finding common ground in the history and ethnography of things, spirits, and their relations to humans. It will provide a timely opportunity for scholars to explore further the synergies between ethnographical and historical methodologies in the analysis of materiality and immateriality. In addition, it expects to offer students of religion, material culture, and science a privileged occasion for mutual engagement and theoretical and methodological cross-fertilizing. We will take as a point of departure that what counts as “things” and “materiality”, what counts as “spirits” and “immateriality”, and, still, what counts as “agents” are issues to be determined empirically. As such, we invite anthropologists, historians, and students of science, technology, and material culture to analytically address the multiple arrangements of things and spirits by engaging with empirical material.

SUGGESTED TOPICS

Submissions of papers are encouraged that address one or more of the following topics:

  • Materiality and immateriality in religious and scientific theories of evidence;
  • Plurality of notions and modes of agency across distinct scientific and non-scientific theories and practices;
  • Boundaries between material and immaterial;
  • “Things”, “spirits” and the dynamics of colonial encounters;
  • Iconoclast and iconophile projects of religion building, destruction, or conversion;
  • Materiality and immateriality of power;
  • Machines, material technologies and their connections to the immaterial.

Venue: Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon. Date: 15, 16 and 17 September 2010

CALL FOR PAPERS NOW OPEN. DEADLINE: 17 May 2010

Please submit a 500 words abstract and a brief bio by email to: Ricardo Roque and João Vasconcelos.

Ricardo Roque
Instituto de Ciencias Sociais
Universidade de Lisboa
Av. Prof. Anibal Bettencourt, 9
1600-189
PORTUGAL
Email: ricardo.roque@ics.ul.pt

Lieux

  • Lisbonne, Portugal

Dates

  • lundi 17 mai 2010

Contacts

  • Ricardo Roque
    courriel : ricardo [dot] roque [at] ics [dot] ul [dot] pt

Source de l'information

  • Marie Pellen
    courriel : marie [dot] pellen [at] openedition [dot] org

Pour citer cette annonce

« Things and spirits: new approaches to materiality and immateriality », Appel à contribution, Calenda, Publié le mardi 20 avril 2010, http://calenda.org/200909