INVISIBILITIES: Addressing the Question of the Unseen


February 20th, 2010


Keynote Speaker: Professor Rosalind Morris

Department of Anthropology, Columbia University



As researchers, how do we capture aspects of the empirical and the everyday that are unseen, vanishing, forgotten, hidden, intangible, “not yet”, or invisible?  As ephemeral and peripheral phenomena come into central focus in ethnography and the social sciences, we wish to interrogate the ways in which we give presence to the elusive in our own work.  Ought phenomena that are difficult to capture and describe take alternate forms in writing and representation?  Would such phenomena be better captured in forms other than the text, and if so, how?  How do we make the absent present in our work?  How can we learn from other disciplines’ engagement with elusive phenomena or materials?  


Conference Schedule


Breakfast: 8:30-9:00am


9:00-9:15: Introductory Remarks for Panels One-Three, JHU Anthro grad student


Panel One 9:15-10:15am “Uncanny Spaces”:


Andrew Johnson, Cornell University, Anthropology, “The Uncanny Return of the New City: Abandoned Buildings, Cultural Heritage, and Ghosts in Northern Thailand”


Chitra Venkataramani, Johns Hopkins University, Anthropology “Failed Experiments: Architectural Intentionality and Housing Design in New Bombay, India”


Panel Two 10:15-11:15am: “Making Violence Visible”


Moyukh Chatterjee, Emory University, Anthropology, “Narrative and its Beyond: Enemies, Friends and Monuments in the Gujarat Pogrom 2002


Yagmur Nuhrat, Brown University, Anthropology, “Visible Immigrants and “Disappearing” Foreigners: Reception and Perception of Migration in Istanbul”


Coffee Break: 11:15-11:30am


Panel Three 11:30-1:00pm “Between the Empirical and the Invisible”


Matthew Kelly, Penn State, English, “The Rise of Spectral Repetition in Cyclic Time”


Larry McGrath, The Johns Hopkins University, Humanities Center, “Time’s Invisible Texture: Rethinking Empiricism between Locke and Deleuze”


Brian Tilley, The Johns Hopkins University, Anthropology, “Sensing the Beloved: Lyric Poetry as Aid to Gnosis


Lunch: 1:00-2:00pm


2:00-2:15: Introductory Remarks for Panels Four and Five, Marieke Wilson, JHU Anthropology


Panel Four 2:15-3:45pm: “Spectral Therapeutics”


Murat Altun, University of Minnesota, Anthropology, “How to Keep the Unseen Away: Conspiratorial and Spectral Belief as Therapy in Northeastern Turkey”


Harris Solomon, Brown University, Anthropology, “The Impalpable Body: Metabolic Surgery and Intangible Cure in India”


Janny Li, University of California, Irvine, Anthropology, “The Train Conductor: A Case Study of a Haunting”


Panel Five: 3:45-4:15: “Performing the Unseen”


Danna Vjada, The Whitney Museum, “Red Fred”


Coffee Break: 4:15-4:30pm


Keynote Speaker: 4:30-6pm

Professor Rosalind Morris, Columbia University, Anthropology

Dinner Reception: 7-9pm, Ambassador Dining Room