Spirit Photography. Seances. Exorcisms. Divine intervention. Prayer. What do these genres have in common? Each one is (differently) predicated on assumptions about human conversations/connections with spirits, deities, and/or demons. This class will examine the culturally specific ways in which human beings theorize and operationalize their capacity (and longing) to speak with sentient beings from other realms. How do societies organize the project of communication with seemingly disembodied (and sometimes quite decidedly non-human) subjects? How have advances in media technologies (for instance, photography, telegraphy, film) served as mechanisms for re-imagining potential links between human speakers and otherworldly interlocutors? The class also tries to examine some of what the story of 19th century spiritualism and early 20th century mass media technology might tell us about the field of Communication Studies and its points of convergence with (and divergence from) the discipline of Anthropology.
Section 401 - SEM
JACKSON, JOHN L.
ANNENBERG SCHOOL 223
Department of Anthropology
Museum, Room 325, 3260 South Street Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone: (215) 898-7461 Fax: (215) 898-7462