By pluralizing a common understanding of 'syncretism', we aim to explore the multiple ways by which relations and associations are forged between different aspects of cultural experience - be they corporeal, emotional, intellectual, social, or technical.
Divested of its pejorative meaning, the term 'syncretism' is now more often linked to loose notions of religious creolization and hybridity, than it is to the processes of encounter and association between Christian and New World ontologies from whence it gained prominence as a concept. 'Syncretism' is indeed arguably central to the predicament of culture in general - all cultures are products of encounter, exchange, mixture - begging the question of what its current analytical purchase is, beyond discourses of, say, contamination, purity, or authenticity, innovation. In this panel we would like to revive this debate by inviting speakers to think through syncretism into syncretisms. By pluralizing a common understanding of syncretism - defined broadly as a combination, fusion or overlap of discrete systems of thought and practice - we aim to explore the multiple ways by which relations/associations are forged between different aspects of cultural experience - corporeal, emotional, intellectual, social, or technical. These may be products of historical processes culminating in particular sets or beliefs or logics of practice, or punctual, even ephemeral, actualizations of of conceptual and phenomenological worlds. The challenge here is also therefore a methodological and theoretical one: how can we produce accounts of 'syncretic' phenomena from multiple points of view? How can our descriptions themselves become syncretic? Foregrounding these explorations is this panel's proposal that syncretism be thought of not as a final product, or even process, but as a logic of bringing together and relating, which can assume myriad forms.