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Accepted Paper:

Materializing Spiritual Experiences: Mediumistic Ways of Knowing in Brazil  

Author:

Emily Pierini (Sapienza University of Rome)

Paper short abstract:

This paper addresses the entanglements between tangible and intangible worlds in learning spirit mediumship in the Vale do Amanhecer. Moving beyond propositional knowledge it embraces the dimension of feeling and affection in which also the ethnographer is engaged in learning a way of knowing.

Paper long abstract:

This paper addresses the entanglements between tangible and intangible worlds in learning the practice of spirit mediumship in the Brazilian Spiritualism of the Vale do Amanhecer (Valley of the Dawn). Learning this practice is hereby approached as learning a way of knowing, in which the spiritual experience of other worlds and other selves is materialized through bodies, spiritual substances and visions are made tangible, and people are made aware of their own selves as extended beyond the physical body. In my analysis of this process of learning, I propose to move beyond the idea of propositional knowledge to embrace the dimension of feeling and affection. Along with the experiences of mediums, I also consider my own experience as ethnographer engaged in this process of learning a way of knowing through the body, expanding perception in a field of interactions and co-presence with other selves (human and non-human), materializing the intangible in and through my own body, which becomes a zone of encounter and transition between worlds where ethnographic knowledge is engendered relationally and through bodily experience.

Panel P115a
Other Worlds, Other Bodies?: Ethnography, Experience and Epistemological Embodiment