Talal Asad’s Genealogies of Religion 1993–2023
|13:15||Professor Catharina Raudvere, Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies||Welcome|
|13:30||Professor Jon Mitchell, University of Sussex||Keynote lecture: Genealogies of Pilgrimage: on disciplined and undisciplined bodies (at Lourdes)|
|14:45||Associate Professor Andreas Bandak, Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies
Associate Professor Birgitte Schepelern Johansen, Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies
|Responses from the discussants
The responses are followed by a seminar discussion on the second chapter of Genealogies of Religion, “Toward a Genealogy of the Concept of Ritual”
|16:00||Professor Talal Asad, CUNY||Honorary talk (online from New York): Reflections over the Genealogies of Religion|
Abstract of Professor Jon Mitchell’s lecture
Genealogies of Pilgrimage: on disciplined and undisciplined bodies (at Lourdes)
Talal Asad’s Genealogies of Religion shifted the paradigm for anthropological understandings of religion and ritual. It prioritised the need to contextualise and historicise both the very terms with which this anthropology operates (including ‘religion’ and ‘ritual’), and the practices described by these terms, conceived as discursive practices, or constituting elements of authoritative discourse. At the centre of this paradigm is the Foucauldian concept of discipline, as a mode of bodily engagement.
Building on these insights, this paper seeks to reflect on pilgrimage as a discursive process – through an interrogation of the category ‘pilgrimage’ both as it has come to define an area of study, or discipline, and as a set of disciplined bodily practices. It uses material from an ongoing ethnographic project that looks at Catholic pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady, in the French Pyrenean town of Lourdes, and explores both bodily discipline and undisciplined bodily improvisations among both non-visually disabled pilgrims and those with a physical disability.
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