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Mattering the Invisible: Technologies, Bodies, and the Realm of the Spectral

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Mattering the Invisible

Technologies, Bodies, and the Realm of the Spectral

Edited by Diana Espírito Santo and Jack Hunter

272 pages, 6 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-80073-066-3 $120.00/£89.00 Hb Not Yet Published (May 2021)

eISBN 978-1-80073-067-0 eBook Not Yet Published

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“The volume brings together a heterogenous and international group of scholars who present a wealth of information of different practices of mattering the invisible… makes a significant contribution to anthropology, and offers innovative contributions to those interested in media studies, materiality, science and technology studies.” • Marcelo Moura Mello, Federal University of Bahia


Exploring how technological apparatuses “capture” invisible worlds, this book looks at how spirits, UFOs, discarnate entities, spectral energies, atmospheric forces and particles are mattered into existence by human minds. Technological and scientific discourse has always been central to the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century spiritualist quest for legitimacy, but as this book shows, machines, people, and invisible beings are much more ontologically entangled in their definitions and constitution than we would expect. The book shows this entanglement through a series of contemporary case studies where the realm of the invisible arises through technological engagement, and where the paranormal intertwines with modern technology.

Diana Espírito Santo currently works as Associate Professor at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. She has published many articles and has co-edited four volumes, including The Social Life of Spirits (2013, University of Chicago Press) with Ruy Blanes.

Jack Hunter is an Honorary Research Fellow with the Religious Experience Research Centre and a tutor with the Sophia Centre, both at University of Wales Trinity Saint David. He is the author of Spirits, Gods and Magic (2020, August Night Press) and Engaging the Anomalous (2018, August Night Press).

Subject: Anthropology (General) Media Studies


List of Figures

Introduction: On the Materiality of Unseen Things
Diana Espirito Santo and Jack Hunter


Chapter 1. Organicism and Mechanism in Psychical Research: Reflections on the Mattering of Spirit Mediumship
Jack Hunter

Chapter 2. Semantics of the Suffering: Torture Technologies and Mediumship in Buenos Aires
Miguel Algranti

Chapter 3. New Media Technologies and the Otherworld in Postsocialist Vietnam
Gertrud Hüwelmeier

Chapter 4. Broken Words: Tools of Oracular Articulacy in Afro-Cuban Divination
Anastasios Panagiotopoulos


Chapter 5. Radioaficionados and UFOs: The Social Life of Radios in Chile
Diana Espírito Santo

Chapter 6. Hospitality and Proof: Human Mediums, Technical Media, and Controversial Knowledge in Ghost Hunting in the United States
Ehler Voss

Chapter 7. Picturing the Unseen: The Role of Polaroid Media in the Remystification of the Western World
Andrea Lathrop Ligueros


Chapter 8. Specters of Climate and the Construction of Ghostly Realities in Brazil
Renzo Taddei

Chapter 9. Iktomi’s Realm: Reanimating the Inanimate in Western Science
Anne Dippel

Chapter 10. Phantom Power: Prophecy, Triangulation and Materialization in Angola
Ruy Blanes

Conclusion: Mediation and Variable Communications
Diana Espírito Santo & Jack Hunter


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