Skills of Feeling with the World - Fifth Workshop Affective Technologies of Memory and Imagination

published: 2020-01-09
date: Jan. 18 (Sat) & Jan.19 (Sun) 2020
VENUE: Ritsumekan University, Suzaku Campus, Room 601
Organizer: Andrea De Antoni (Ritsumeikan University)

In collaboration with the Institute of Ars Vivendi, Ritsumeikan University


The so-called “affective turn” (Clough and Halley 2007) in the Humanities and Social Sciences shed light on the (inter-)subjective intensity and dynamics immanent to bodily perceptions and matter in general (e.g. Massumi 2002). Similarly, research on the senses stressed their centrality in shaping social practice and culture (e.g. Geurts 2002, Howes 2004), calling for a focus on perception in processes of doing ethnography (e.g. Pink 2009). Furthermore, Ingold’s work (2000, 2013) pointed at the need to highlight creative processes in social practice and anthropology in the making, as engagements and correspondences with materials and the environment, in which skills of perception and action emerge alongside ontologies. Moreover, anthropological works have also emphasized the important role matter plays in developing sensorial skills and in bearing or affording specific affects (e.g. Durham 2011, Navaro-Yashin 2012, Wetherell 2012).

Furthermore, anthropological research has granted the status of “real” experience to both memory and imagination, mainly focusing on healing processes: imagining and imagery are analyzed as bodily practices as they engage the motor-senses, providing a strong experience of immediacy and self-presence, reinforced by intersubjective engagements through (ritual) practice (e.g. Csordas 1996, 2002). Furthermore, in their work on “technologies of imagination,” Sneath, Holbraad, and Pedersen (2009) analyse imagination as a bodily practice that brings about imaginative effects which are indeterminate. According to them, what makes imagination “imaginative” is “precisely that the imagination is not an effect as this is ordinarily understood, inasmuch as its relationship to the conditions that engender it is neither deterministic nor teleological. To explore ‘technologies of the imagination,’ then, is to explore the conditions under which unconditioned outcomes come about” (p.19).

Though groundbreaking, these approaches give only partial accounts of 1) how certain memories and imageries are evoked and entangled with experience through bodily interactions, 2) the feelings through which they emerge and 3) their relationships with embodied skills. Moreover, 4) they do not take interactions with non-humans and the environment into consideration and, 5) at least to a certain extent, they still tend to “psychologize” remembering and imagining.

This Workshop seeks to address these gaps, looking at memory and imagination as “affective practices” (Wetherell 2012) or “practices of feeling with the world” (De Antoni and Dumouchel 2017) that rely on specific skills of the lived body moving-in-the-world. It tries to elaborate new methodological standpoints – based on empirical ethnographic data and from a comparative perspective – to relate feelings and bodily perceptions with practices of remembering and imagining emerging through correspondences and attunements between bodies and environments, including non-humans.


DAY 1: January the 18th (Sat)
10:00-11:30 James Anderson (Kyoto University)
Self-injurious Behaviour and Suicide: Humans vs. Apes, and the Imaginary vs. the Real Self
  Coffee Break
11:45-13:15 Paul Dumouchel (Ritsumeikan University)
Embodiment and Imagination
14:30-16:00 Huang Xinzhe (Ritsumeikan University)
Zhi Wei Bing (Preventing Healthcare) and Qi: Imagination, Memory and Enskillment in Contemporary Chinese Qigong Practices
  Coffee Break
16:15-17:45 Andrea De Antoni (Ritsumeikan University)
Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell: The Management of Spirits, Imagination and Memories in Contemporary Osorezan
19:00 Reception (Venue TBA)
DAY 2: January the 19th (Sat)
10:00-11:30 Eyal Ben-Ari (Kinneret College)
Eating to Become Japanese: Mealtimes in Two Japanese Preschools
  Coffee Break
11:45-13:15 Emma Cook (Hokkaido University)
‘Reading the Air’ and Imagination: Food Allergy Tracking in Japan
14:30-16:00 Jamie Coates, Jennifer Coates (Sheffield University), Emma Cook (Hokkaido University), Andrea De Antoni (Ritsumeikan University), Laura Haapio-Kirk (UCL), Daniel White (University of Cambridge)
Roundtable – Embodied Memories and Affective Imagination Skills: Theorising Imagination through Japan
  Coffee Break
16:15-17:45 Roundtable
Wrapping-up and Discussion


In order to have free discussions, we can accept up to twenty participants. If you are interested in joining the Workshop, please, register by filling in the form that you find here: by January the 11th 2020.

A draft version of all the papers will be delivered in advance to all the people who registered and we kindly ask everyone to read them before joining the Workshop, so that we can have productive discussions.