Conjuring Time and the Spirits of Capitalism

AHA Session 183
Conference on Latin American History 45
Saturday, January 7, 2017: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Room 601 (Colorado Convention Center, Meeting Room Level)
Jessica Krug, George Washington University
Paul Christopher Johnson, University of Michigan

Session Abstract

At least since the publication of John and Jean Comaroff’s Modernity and Its Malcontents (1993) and Peter Geschiere’s The Modernity of Witchcraft (1997), scholars have been compelled to eschew the problematic binary distinction between conjuring practices and modernity.  In this panel, we build on the decades of scholarship regarding the mutually constitutive relationship between ritual practice and the rituals of modernity, interrogating the ways in which particular technologies and epistemes of conjure and the geographies of reputation that conjure engenders have shaped the ideological repertoires of the modern.  We are particularly interested in the temporalities that nation states avow and the ways that the conjuring practices undergirding state and non-state interlocutors construct different concepts of time.  Indeed, we de-naturalize the ways in which capital conjures time by examining “modern time” from the position of commodities.  While rooted in archives, oral histories, ethnographies, and languages of Africa and the Americas, each panelist explicitly engages Marxist perspectives on the fetish of things, the fetish of time, and even the fetish of fetishes.  From the sixteenth century to the present, each panelist navigates alternative narrative strategies which highlight logics of relation between the past and present, people and things, and the ontic transformations of ritual and revolution.
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