ProjectRelational Persons, Arts, and the Cosmos. The Matter of Indigenous and Pagan Spiritualities in the Americas

Basic data

Title:
Relational Persons, Arts, and the Cosmos. The Matter of Indigenous and Pagan Spiritualities in the Americas
Duration:
10/1/2021 to 3/31/2024
Abstract / short description:
The project analyzes the cosmovisions of pre-colonial and contemporary Mesoamerican and North American indigenous peoples regarding their concepts of the human person and its interrelationship with the natural environment and non-human entities in the cosmos, such as animals, stones, ancestors, and deities. Adopting an approach inspired by the aesthetics of religion as well as material religion and visual religion, the project looks for expressions and materializations of these concepts of the human person on several levels of human culture, not only propositional communications but also embodied and material forms as well as those expressed in everyday practice and ritual action. In doing so, the project also adopts a meta level of discourse analysis and reflexivity tracing the diverse ontological and epistemological positions debated in the research field of “new animism.” This field is characterized by an astonishing diversity of positions, with agents from many ethnic, religious, and academic backgrounds sharing insider and outsider positions and scientific as well as normative interests. Analyzing these positions, the project discusses fundamental epistemological issues of Western academic and scientific research in general and the study of religion in particular with their dominant ontological propositions such as differentiating between the animate and the non-animate world as well as concepts of “religion” and “spirituality,” “art” and “writing.” Thus, the postcolonial perspective of the project considers not only indigenous ontologies and semiotics but also power relations and identity politics among advocators of “Native” and “Pagan” spiritualities in a growing discourse field characterized by multifaceted relationships, mutual receptions, entangled histories, and globalization.
Keywords:
Religion, Religionswissenschaft, North America, Mesoamerica, Aztecs, Native American traditions

Involved staff

Managers

Institute of Religious Studies
Department of Ancient Studies and Art History, Faculty of Humanities

Local organizational units

Institute of Religious Studies
Department of Ancient Studies and Art History
Faculty of Humanities

Funders

Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
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