Mobile materials and technologies of enchantment

Diana Espirito Santo (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile)
Bruno Reinhardt (Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil)
Aula Magna-Polstjarnan
Start time:
16 August, 2018 at 9:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This panel will ask what kinds of "enchantments" are produced via the manipulation, performance and enaction of materials and technologies in religious movements, scientific theories, or "border sciences".

Long abstract:

This panel will examine the mobility of materials and the performance of technologies of knowledge, truth and evidence at stake in religious movements, in scientific theories, or in "border sciences" (Wolffram, 2009), that "enchant" the cosmos. Epistemologies of evidence have seen a recent return in anthropological debates (Engelke, 2009), highlighting the need to re-examine borders of human and non-human, and invisible and tangible agency (Blanes & Espírito Santo, 2013: Johnson, 2014), complemented by a re-engagement with notions of "technology" and "media" and their links to the possibilities of the social imagination (Meyer & Pels, 2003; Meyer, 2008; Sneath et al, 2009; Stolow, 2013). The larger question we ask here is not whether religious discourses encroach on scientific ones or vice versa, but what kinds of "enchantments" are produced via the manipulation, movement and enaction of materials and "technologies"- in the broader anthropological rather than merely scientific-industrial, sense, of social, conceptual, imaginary, aesthetic, corporeal, and ritual techniques (Gell, 1998; Mauss, 1950). The focus on mobility and enaction (Mol, 2002) brings the analysis squarely to the technical, historical but also performative aspect of cosmologies, recognizing their shifting and impermanent qualities, and their essentially affective character. We welcome papers that ask how technical/material-spiritual/religious assemblages are actively, performatively produced and experienced.