Call for Papers and Films: The Bodily AND Material Cultures of Religious Subjectivation


Program Details

Intended date of conference: 17-18 June, 2014.

Venue: UCL, Dept. of Anthropology*

Deadline for CFP: 31 December, 2013.

Notification: 31 January, 2014.

Conference Conveners: Jean-Pierre Warnier and Urmila Mohan.

For further information please contact Urmila Mohan (


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-Material Culture, and Religious Subjectivation involving technologies of the self.


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 (20 min maximum as a rule) showing the intertwinement of bodily-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 (or a dvd copy) if you are presenting one. 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.


*This event is organised by UCL Anthropology together with the Interdisciplinary Research Group (GDRI) “Anthropology and Art History” at the Musée du Quai Branly.


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Prof. Mayfair Yang
Director, East Asia Center
Religious Studies Department
East Asian Cultural Studies Department
University of California
Santa Barbara,  CA  93106

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