Beyond the Material Turn? Sensory Interrogations in Religion and Spirituality

Monday, 11 July 2016: 14:15-15:45
Location: Seminar 33 (Juridicum)
TG07 Senses and Society (host committee)

Language: English

Material and textual cultures, and the practices revolving around such cultural artefacts have become essential components for our analysis of religion and spirituality. We propose to build upon and extend this approach through the incorporation of the sensorial dimension in our understanding and engagement with the sacred. 
As an organised way of knowing, the senses constitute important pathways to not simply access and communicate with a pre-existing holiness but as ways to actually define and indeed constitute the sacred itself. Such personal and collective sensorial experiences do authoritatively provide legitimacy and conviction to religious beliefs and practices. More fundamentally, they serve to make manifest sacredness and potency and render them immediate as well as intimate. 
How can the study and representation of the senses strengthen our understanding of the meanings ascribed to religion and spirituality and their links to broader social relations and social institutions in our societies? How can these forms and practices act as potent social intermediaries for us to analyse the reproduction, contestation and negotiation of multiple social, collective and moral identities? How can we connect the study of sensory and embodied experiences with notions of power, domination and resistance in both historical and contemporary contexts? 
We invite empirical, theoretical and/or methodological submissions to discuss the evocative, immersive and sensuously textured character of religious and spiritual objects, spaces, rituals, rites of passage, performances, communities and behaviours, and how such sensory engagements with the sacred organise and configure our social, economic and political lives.
Session Organizer:
Noorman ABDULLAH, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Alexandre MARCHANT, Université Paris X Nanterre, France
Harmony As “Repressive”: Sensory Politics, Religion and the Everyday
Noorman ABDULLAH, National University of Singapore, Singapore
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