Body and soul: on corporeality in contemporary religiosity

Ruy Blanes (University of Gothenburg)
Anna Fedele (CRIA, University Institute of Lisbon)
Start time:
27 August, 2008 at 9:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

Contemporary religiosity is defined by new ways of conceiving faith and the body, either opposing or recovering 'traditional' senses. In this workshop we propose to assess the importance of the body in religious faith, calling for ethnographic contributions focusing on these aspects.

Long abstract:

In this panel we propose to discuss the importance of the body and its perceptions in contemporary religious faith. Corporeality has always been a key locus for the definition of belief and religious experience: in Christianity, for example, it has ranged from the blood of Christ to the Pentecostal tongues of fire. Contemporary spiritual experiences (Neopaganism, Neo-Pentecostals, Falun-Gong) have produced new instruments for conceiving faith and the body, opposing or recovering 'traditional' senses. Anthropologists have been, over time, developing multiple strategies to describe and analyse this kind of spiritual bodily experiences: from Evans-Pritchard's description of Nuer conceptions of the soul to Constance Classen's insights on Inca cosmology and the human body, Paul Stoller's postmodern approach on sorcery apprenticeship in Niger and Thomas Csordas' study on the phenomenology of healing. In this panel we intend to discuss these and other possible approaches calling for papers on ethnographic contributions focusing on the connection between 'body' and 'soul'.