Lecture of dr. Andrea de Antoni
22 October 2019
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
- the reading room in the ground floor building D (Arna Nováka 1)
The Czech Association for the Study of Religions and The Department for the Study of Religions
heartily invite you to the lecture
“The End is the Beginning is the End: Healing from Spirit Possession Beyond Cognition in Contemporary Japan and Italy” by an anthropologist dr. Andrea de Antoni (Ritsumeikan University).
on October 22th at 16:00, at the reading room on the ground floor of building D, ff MUNI (Arna Nováka 1).
This talk tries to move towards a comparative perspective on phenomena of possession in contemporary Japan and Italy. On the one hand, experiences of possession have been analysed in relation to “internalizing” or “externalizing” medical systems (e.g. Young 1976; Kirmayer 2004), or embodiment (e.g. Csordas 1994, 2002), emphasising healers’ roles in shaping patients’ experiences according to existing ontologies, or the role of training and enskillment (e.g. Espirito-Santo 2012). On the other, recent research on possession has moved towards cognitive sciences (e.g. Cohen 2008; Lifshitz, van Elk, and Luhrmann 2019), with approaches that have great potential for cross-cultural research, but tend to “psychologize” spirit entities and related phenomena.
This talk will elaborate an approach for an understanding of spirit possession and healing that goes beyond cognition. In order to do so, I will rely on ethnographic data about experiences with spirits among people who undergo Roman Catholic exorcism in contemporary (Central) Italy and Shinto exorcism in contemporary Japan (Shikoku). After a brief explanation of the symptoms from which the realities of spirits and possession phenomena emerge, I will focus on experiences during exorcisms and their effects, which lead to healing. Specifically, I will analyze the role of embodied memories of certain symptoms or feelings, enskilment (Ingold 2000) and modulation of somatic modes of attention (Csordas 1994), arguing that such approach can shed new light on the efficacy of medical and religious/spiritual healing, beyond the cognitive paradigm.
A short biography of dr. de Antoni
Andrea De Antoni (Ph.D.) is an associate professor of anthropology and religious studies at Ritsumeikan University (Kyoto, Japan) and main editor of the Japan Anthropology Workshop (JAWS) Newsletter. He is author of Going to Hell in Contemporary Japan: Feeling Landscapes of the Afterlife, Othering, Memory and Materiality (Routledge, forthcoming 2020), editor of Death and Desire in Modern and Contemporary Japan (Venice University Press, 2017, with M. Raveri), of “The Practices of Feeling with the World: Towards an Anthropology of Affect, the Senses and Materiality” (Special Issue of Japanese Review of Cultural Anthropology, 2017, with P. Dumouchel), and “Feeling (with) Japan: Affective, Sensory and Material Entanglements in the Field” (Special Issue of Asian Anthropology, 2019, with E. Cook). He is also the coordinator of the international research network “Skills of Feeling with the World: Anthropological Research on the Senses, Affect and Materiality,” based in Ritsumeikan University.