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terça-feira, 23 de fevereiro de 2010

THINGS AND SPIRITS: NEW APPROACHES TO MATERIALITY AND IMMATERIALITY

C O N F E R E N C E

THINGS AND SPIRITS: NEW APPROACHES TO MATERIALITY AND IMMATERIALITY

Venue: Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon
http://www.ics.ul.pt/

Date: 15, 16 and 17 September 2010

CALL FOR PAPERS NOW OPEN
DEADLINE: 17 May 2010

Please submit a 500 words abstract and a brief bio by email to:
Ricardo Roque:
ricardo.roque@ics.ul.pt
João Vasconcelos: vasconcelos.joao@gmail.com


THINGS AND SPIRITS: MATERIALITY AND IMMATERIALITY RECONSIDERED

This conference is aimed at exploring new ways of approaching the tensional
and intimate connections between ‘things’ and ‘spirits’ across distinct
practices and epistemologies. In recent decades, the theme of materiality
has gained wider currency and centrality in social sciences and
anthropological theory. A growing number of scholars in the anthropology of
religion, material culture studies, and history and sociology of science and
technology have been reexamining the partition between humans, material
objects, and immaterial entities, along with the ideas of agency, evidence,
and materiality itself. A double shift towards (i) a radically generalized
view of agency and (ii) the ontological complexity of things, spirits, and
humans is cutting across distinct approaches in the anthropology of
religion, science studies, and material culture studies. However, although
they seem to share a novel attention to the tropes of materiality and
agency, they do not necessarily agree with the angles from which these
issues should be analyzed. Moreover, the extent to which the themes of
immateriality and spirituality should be accorded analytical weight is
unequally present throughout these approaches. For example, if it seems
clear that “spirits” must have a place in the study of religion it is less
obvious how the study of immaterialities would look like in the analysis of
scientific and technological artefacts.
By bringing these scholarly approaches into closer dialogue, the conference
Things and Spirits: New Approaches to Materiality and Immateriality aims at
developing new perspectives and finding common ground in the history and
ethnography of things, spirits, and their relations to humans. It will
provide a timely opportunity for scholars to explore further the synergies
between ethnographical and historical methodologies in the analysis of
materiality and immateriality. In addition, it expects to offer students of
religion, material culture, and science a privileged occasion for mutual
engagement and theoretical and methodological cross-fertilizing.
We will take as a point of departure that what counts as “things” and
“materiality”, what counts as “spirits” and “immateriality”, and, still,
what counts as “agents” are issues to be determined empirically. As such, we
invite anthropologists, historians, and students of science, technology, and
material culture to analytically address the multiple arrangements of things
and spirits by engaging with empirical material.

SUGGESTED TOPICS
Submissions of papers are encouraged that address one or more of the
following topics:
• Materiality and immateriality in religious and scientific theories
of evidence;
• Plurality of notions and modes of agency across distinct scientific
and non-scientific theories and practices;
• Boundaries between material and immaterial;
• “Things”, “spirits” and the dynamics of colonial encounters;
• Iconoclast and iconophile projects of religion building,
destruction, or conversion;
• Materiality and immateriality of power;
• Machines, material technologies and their connections to the
immaterial.

VENUE

The conference will take place at Institute of Social Sciences, University
of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal, on 15, 16 and 17 September 2010
(www.ics.ul.pt). The conference is designed as a small meeting so to
encourage exchange of ideas and group discussion. Accordingly a limited
number of participants will be selected. We expect graduate and
post-graduate scholars from the fields of the humanities and social sciences
to participate.

Organizers:

Ricardo Roque:
ricardo.roque@ics.ul.pt
Research Fellow, Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon

João Vasconcelos:
vasconcelos.joao@gmail.com
Research Fellow, Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon

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