The Bodily AND Material Cultures of Religious Subjectivation
10 July 2013
Department of Anthropology,
Intended Date: 17-18 June 2014
Convenors: Urmila Mohan and Jean-Pierre Warnier
For further information please contact Urmila Mohan (email@example.com).
L to R: Festival ablution of the Hindu deity Chaitanya (Mayapur, India, 2013). Image: U. Mohan. An
African king smears camwood on his wives and children right after a sacrifice
to his ancestors (Awing, Cameroon, 1973). Image: JP. Warnier. Animist ritual with the
headmaster on the rooftop sacrificing chickens. Image: L. Douny.
Statement of Purpose
There is no known religious practice that does not involve bodily motions (bowing, standing, walking, fasting, feasting, etc.) and their associated emotions, nor the use of given material things (shrines, musical instruments, substances of various kinds). Both involve the sensory apparatus of touch, sight, smell, etc. Without disregarding religious discourses and creeds, the conference will focus on the cultures of religious practice with a strong emphasis on both ethnographic documentation and theoretical elaboration based on a few basic principles -- the importance of Bodily and Material Culture, and Religious Subjectivation involving technologies of the self.
theme of bodily and material cultures of religion has been explored by the
path-breaking publications of the journal Material
Religion (see Meyer et Al.,
2010). In addition to the various theoretical suggestions published in the
Journal, we propose to take into account the publications of the “Matière à
Penser” (MàP) network. (see Warnier 2007, 2009, Naji & Douny 2009, Julien
& Rosselin eds. 2009).
See CFP for further
information on the MàP approach.
Call for Proposals and Films
We welcome proposals from students, faculty and independent researchers based on ethnographic fieldwork focused on both bodily and material cultures of religious practice as part of the production of a religious subject in different areas and religious settings (Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Asiatic, African and other religions, etc.). The papers should address theoretical issues, whatever theoretical references may be put to use, provided they articulate bodily AND material cultures. We aim at establishing discussions between various academic traditions on both sides of the Atlantic and the Channel. Short documentary films (e.g. 20 min maximum as a rule) showing the intertwinement of bodily and material cultures in religious practice are welcome.
The application should consist of a one page proposal addressed to the convenors detailing your institutional affiliation; whether you are presenting a paper, a film, or both; a write-up on the subject of your presentation and how it relates to the agenda of the conference (which is to articulate both bodily and material cultures of religious subjectivity with a strong ethnographic input and theoretical sophistication); and a link to the film if you are presenting one. Please be assured that the link to the film will be treated confidentially by the organising committee and is necessary since we cannot accept a film without viewing it first. Proposals will be assessed by the organising committee of the conference. Ultimately, we expect to end up with an edited volume. Proposals must be submitted by email to Urmila Mohan (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Deadline for Submissions: 31 December, 2013
- Notification of Acceptance: 31 January, 2014
- Julien, M.P. & C. Rosselin (eds.) 2009 .Le Sujet contre les objets… tout contre. Ethnographies de cultures matérielles, Paris, CTHS.
- Meyer, B., D. Morgan, C. Paine, S. B. Plate, 2010 .“The Origin and Mission of Material Religion”, Religion 40: 207-211.
- Naji, M. & Douny, L. 2009 .“Editorial” in: “Special Issue: ‘Making’ and ‘Doing’ the Material World: Anthropology of Techniques revisited”, Journal of Material Culture, 14(4): 411-432.
- Warnier, J.P. 2007 .The Pot-King. The Body and Technologies of Power. Leiden, Boston: Brill.
- 2009 .“Technology as Efficacious Action on Objects… and Subjects”, Journal of Material Culture, 14(4): 459-470.
This event is organised by UCL Anthropology in connection with the Interdisciplinary Research Group (GDRI) “Anthropology and Art History” at the Musée du Quai Branly.
UCL Anthropology, 14 Taviton Street, London, WC1H 0BW Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 8633