P31
The archaeology and anthropology of the imaginative and imagined self
Convenor:
Iain Edgar (Durham University)
Location:
Wills G27
Start time:
9 April, 2009 at 9:30
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

This workshop intends to develop a shared approach to the imaginative inner worlds of people(s) living and deceased. The two disciplines perhaps intersect, at least symbolically, in the study of what I tentatively describe as the anthropology and archaeology of the imaginative and intuitive self.

Long abstract:

Both Anthropology and Archaeology make surmises from the observation of primarily outer events to hypotheses about living and deceased humans as to their mental processes and lived social and cultural milieus. There are epistemological, interpersonal and methodological issues which intersect and often constrain such interpretations of lived human experiences, be they contemporary or past. However, both disciplines perhaps intersect, at least symbolically, in the study of what I tentatively describe as the anthropology and archaeology of the imaginative and intuitive self. Jung developed his ground-breaking concept of the collective unconscious through a highly significant 'archaeological' dream in which he, in his dream, explored the various parts of an old house including its cellars and various skeletal and other cultural remains there. This led him to formulate his concept of the collective unconscious which proposed that all humans contained a universal substratum of unconscious experience which imaginatively stretched through time and space. This symbolic treasure house was the inner well out of which collective myths and personal dreams were fashioned and often brought in various ways into public cultures. Jung further developed the practice of 'active imagination' as a way of encountering such inner phenomenological possibilities. This workshop invites papers that explores the notion of a shared archaeological and anthropological study of the human imagination in all its diverse theoretical and applied possibilities. One such shared arena would be the interaction found between the shrines of dead saints/shayks/gurus and their followers' pilgrimages, devotions, prayers and visionary/dreamt inspirational and therapeutic encounters.