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Health and more-than-human entanglements in African and Afro-diasporic religions

11. Mai – 15. Mai 2024 

Hybrid pan­el in Johannesburg 

Pan­el „Health and more-than-human entan­gle­ments in African and Afro-dias­poric religions”
WAU Congress
Johan­nes­burg, 11–15 Novem­ber 2024
Modal­i­ty: hybrid
Dead­line: 13 May 2024
Link for sub­mis­sion:

Daniela Cal­vo (Kyoto University)
Francesca Bassi (Uni­ver­si­dade Fed­er­al do Recôn­ca­vo da Bahia)
Ran Murat­su (Tokyo Uni­ver­si­ty of For­eign Studies)

The aim of this pan­el is to bring togeth­er ethno­gra­phies, as well as the­o­ret­i­cal and method­olog­i­cal reflec­tions on the diverse ways in which more-than-human beings entan­gle in the process of health and ill­ness, in the frame­work of African and Afro-dias­poric reli­gions. Anthro­pol­o­gy start­ed to blur the bor­ders between the bio­log­i­cal and the social, the human and the non-human, and to con­sid­er health in a posthu­man per­spec­tive, exam­in­ing how more-than-human beings – includ­ing humans and oth­er beings, con­sid­ered as per­tain­ing to the “nat­ur­al realm” like ani­mals, plants, min­er­als, forests, the earth etc.; those of the “tech­no­log­i­cal realm” like objects, arti­facts, med­ical instru­ments etc., and those of the “spir­i­tu­al realm” like spir­its, ances­tors, divini­ties and forces – entwine and inter­min­gle with one anoth­er, and par­tic­i­pate in the process of health and ill­ness. Health (intend­ed in a broad sense, includ­ing biopsy­choso­cial, eco­log­i­cal, eco­nom­ic and spir­i­tu­al aspects, and relat­ed to par­tic­i­pa­tion with forces and ener­gies) is impact­ed by more-than-human rela­tions in dif­fer­ent ways. Hence­forth, we can con­sid­er human health to be enmeshed in mul­ti­ple and com­plex rela­tions with more-than-human beings, and the var­i­ous ways in which more-than-human beings par­tic­i­pate in heal­ing rit­u­als and ther­a­peu­tic spaces (Chams & Dansac 2022). In addi­tion, eco­log­i­cal issues, the health of the earth, waters, forests, ani­mals, plants and ecosys­tems (Got­tieb 2009), and inter­species rela­tions are addressed con­cur­rent­ly. Since the ontolo­gies of African and Afro-dias­poric reli­gions sug­gest inter­con­nec­tiv­i­ty, inter­de­pen­dence, and mutu­al in-becom­ings among more-than-human beings, they pro­vide an intrigu­ing frame­work for think­ing about health and more-than-human entan­gle­ments. In fact, humans, and, more gen­er­al­ly, more-than-human beings, have been analysed through dimen­sions like rela­tion­al­i­ty (Bastide 1993), incom­plete­ness and con­vivi­al­i­ty (Nyam­n­joh 2017), trans­la­tion, affect, mutu­al in-becom­ings and par­tic­i­pa­tion in the flows of life and mate­ri­als (Cal­vo 2022), poros­i­ty of onto­log­i­cal bor­ders, trans­for­ma­tions and hybridiza­tions. Based on the afore­men­tioned per­spec­tives, we pro­pose to exam­ine how the process­es of health and ill­ness are con­ceived, lived and enact­ed in African and Afro-dias­poric reli­gions, tak­ing into account the mul­ti­ple entan­gle­ments among more-than-human beings, as well as the ways in which more-than-human beings par­tic­i­pate in heal­ing rit­u­als and oth­er prac­tices (taboos, dai­ly behav­iours, food, per­son­al hygiene, prayers etc.) meant to pre­serve or restore (indi­vid­ual and col­lec­tive) health, and in fac­ing health crises. Thus, this pan­el pro­pos­es to explore how, with­in African and Afro-dias­poric reli­gions, more-than-human beings par­tic­i­pate in the pro­duc­tion of the body, health, and heal­ing; how more-than-human entan­gle­ments emerge in the expe­ri­ences of health, ill­ness, and heal­ing rit­u­als; which cos­mopol­i­tics and ontolo­gies emerge in ther­a­peu­tic spaces; which prac­tices are enact­ed regard­ing ani­mals’, plants’, the earth’s and oth­er beings’ health; how reli­gious heal­ing spaces inter­act with oth­er med­ical sys­tems; what “healths” and cos­mopol­i­tics emerge from field­works con­duct­ed amid eco­log­i­cal dis­as­ters, polit­i­cal-eco­nom­ic insta­bil­i­ty, wars and health crises, and relat­ed issues.

For any ques­tion, you can con­tact me:

Daniela Cal­vo
JSPS Post­doc­tor­al Fellow
Grad­u­ate School of Human and Envi­ron­men­tal Studies
Kyoto University