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Public Lecture: Sana Chavoshian on ''Micro-relics: Dust and the Multiple Returns of the Past in the Landscapes of War''

12 May 2022

5 p.m.

Seminargebäude, Room S 403

This session places ‘dust’ at the center of an engagement with the senses, material effects and affective resonances that rise in the encounter with the environments of war. We will draw on dust, dusty and dustiness in making new modes of veneration and memorialization in secular and religious terms. Scholars of religion often approach things from an objective distance and/or from their certain positions in rituals, museums and photographs. This objective distance is complicit in the ways material objects are categorized as religious, heritagized between generations or invested in rituals economy as sacred. The state of dust as a quasi-object, both visible and invisible that sticks to the fingertips, covers surfaces and fills the space, helps us challenge this objective distance. In this session we try to examine the multiple roles that dust plays in the military memorialized environments such as former battlefields, war memorials and sites of commemoration of martyrs. Dust carries, invokes, lends and furnishes certain affects and is in this sense a part of auratic experience of the visitors. While the notion of aura refers to religious, cultic and archaic genealogies, we will attend its affordance in referring to ambiguities, contradictions and irritations that dust gives rise to.