This panel seeks a debate on mobility in religious/spiritual contexts beyond the usual tropes of "diaspora" or "de/reterritorialization". Calling for papers based on current ethnographies in the anthropology of religion, we aim to explore new approaches to religious mediation and transmission.
Ever since the time of Imperial Roman complaints about invasive cults from Asia Minor (such as Christianity) making their home in the metropole as a result of population movements, the notion that deities follow their worshipers has been an established trope in aiming to understand what we, today, are wont to call the religious concomitants of globalization. It is a view of the movement of numinous entities based on what we might call a paradigm of endemic range (in the zoological sense), and the effects of "invasive" collective representations on prior human-divine ecologies. Tired of concepts such as diaspora or de/reterritorialization, this panel aims to rethink how deities, spirits, and other entities move through, and transform in, space and time. It does so by focusing on how their devotees not only think such movements occur, but how they actively bring these into being. We ask how people imagine numinous entities to move in time/space/http, what storage media they use, how they are activated, and what may stand in the way of doing so. Drums, relics, possessed bodies, amulets, books, prayer, images, audio or video recordings, apps and social media - and other techniques and media platforms to work the gods into presence in new surroundings - are all par for the course: as "low" or "high tech" as the case may be. We invite ethnographically grounded analyses of divine mobilties, but also historical case studies.
Asaf Sharabi (Peres Academic Center)
Gertrud Hüwelmeier (Humboldt University)
Emily Pierini (Sapienza University of Rome)
Elina Hartikainen (University of Helsinki)