Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness Invited Session
Saturday, November 19
8:00 AM – 9:45 AM
Minneapolis Convention Center, Room: 101H
Session Description: Responding to the theme of the 2016 AAA meetings, this panel explores dreaming in and of the field as ‘evidence, accident, discovery.’ How can we begin to make sense of the enigmatic significance of dreaming as a component of both fieldwork and the subsequent process of interpretation? Are some projects more dream-intensive than others? In what ways may dreams bleed through or haunt our waking hours in the field? If dreams, as Stefania Pandolfo has written, “are never one’s own,” then from what location in the intersubjective space of fieldwork do they speak? And why should dreaming remain somehow a suspect, even slightly scandalous idiom of ethnographic experience? There is a longstanding anthropological tradition of accounting for the meaning of dreams ‘in other cultures.’ We propose a different kind of question: how to make sense of dreams as symptoms –auguries, anxieties, returns – of the ethnographic encounter itself. Papers will prompt reflection on themes such as dream interpretation as an art of government; the productive untimeliness of dreams vis-à-vis ethnographic experience; the fictive status of dreams vis-à-vis the presumed ordinariness of field encounters; ethnographic moments that might just as well have been dreams; the forms of self-confrontation vis-à-vis our ethnographic choices that dreams may prompt; waking attachments to external signs of dreaming in states that hover between life and death; and the need to rethink the conventional critical trope of collective awakening in the face of infrastructures that, as they decay and unravel, disclose unexpected and ambiguous dream worlds.
Organizer & Chair: William Mazzarella University of Chicago
Discussant: Stefania Pandolfo University of California, Berkeley