XXI World Congress of the International Association for the History of Religions Erfurt University, Germany 23-29 August 2015
Panel Chair: Prof Almut-Barbara Renger (Freie Universität Berlin) and Prof Bettina Schmidt (University of Wales Trinity Saint David)
Body knowledge – ‘knowledge about the body’ and ‘knowledge of the body’ - is an integral part of the history of knowledge, which examines the interweaving of cognitive processes, social values and cultural practices across disciplinary traditions and boundaries of cultures and societies beyond.
This panel will take a closer look at the processes involved in the transfer of body knowledge within a religious context. The aim of the panel is to discuss how body knowledge is passed on from teacher to student, doctor to patient, authors to readers, religious specialists to believers. Does the mediation take place verbally or non-verbally? How are these transfer processes described in text, interpreted and contextualized? We want to reconstruct processes of the production and dissemination of knowledge and discuss, for instance, how this knowledge is transferred in and between cultures. Despite all attempts to codify knowledge we argue that something changes in the transfer from one context to another, from one person to another. We are interested in processes of body knowledge both within and between European and non-European cultures.
We invite panelists to analyze the interaction of various factors as well as the interaction between the physical carriers of body knowledge and the environment. The panel will look in detail at practices and techniques which are based on physical skills. In addition we want to analyze how non-verbal experiences which arise from such practices and techniques, are interpreted within each socio-cultural context, whether it us presented in text genres, visual media, rituals and other performances. Finally we want to investigate how knowledge changes when transferred into different cultural contexts and constellations and how they are integrated.