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Dark Night of the Early Modern Soul

Humanists, Clashing Cartesians, Jesuits, and the New Physiology

Jeffrey D. Burson

During the sixteenth century, Jesuit renovations of medieval Aristotelian conceptions of the soul afforded an important discursive field for René Descartes to craft a notion of the soul as a substance distinct from the body and defined by thought. Cartesianism, however, augmented rather than diminished the skeptical crisis over the soul and the mind–body union. This article explores the work of a Jesuit intellectual, René-Joseph Tournemine, whose attempt to navigate between Malebranche’s Cartesianism and the metaphysics of Leibniz proved influential during the eighteenth century in ways that intersect with the development of Enlightenment biological science. Tournemine’s theologically motivated conjectures about the nature of the mind–body union reinforced an important shift away from considering the soul as a metaphysical substance in favor of seeing it as a pervasive motive force or vital principle animating the human organism.

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The Algebra of Souls

Ontological Multiplicity and the Transformation of Animism in Southwest China

Mireille Mazard

burial plot to open the path for the deceased into the ‘shadow realm’, or mhade . 2 In the ritual unfolding of a Nusu funeral, the yãn-hla (soul or doppelgänger) emerges from latency into full personhood, supplanting the corporeal existence of the

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Anthropological Knowledge Making, the Reflexive Feedback Loop, and Conceptualizations of the Soul

Katherine Swancutt and Mireille Mazard

anthropology today. Our point of departure is ‘animism’, the locus classicus of anthropological theory. We situate our inquiry at the crossroads of ‘native’ and ‘non-native’ scholarship on animism and the soul, exploring how indigenous thinkers have adopted

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Searching for the Young Soul Rebels

On Writing, New Wave, and the Ends of Cultural Studies

Richard Langston

life. It was in this vein that the very same critic asked in 1982: “How can I write about the deepest depths of the … pure soul?” 12 Unlike the commercial interests typical of mainstream music journalism, this idiosyncratic writing found in only a few

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Laila Prager

The concept of nafs is frequently mentioned in the Qur'an and in post-Qur'anic literature, where it is identified with the idea of the soul and individual moral behaviour. Accordingly, this concept appears in a number of Islamised societies, although it is usually associated with a wide range of different, localised socio-cultural meanings and understandings. In the Alawi-Nusairy society of south-eastern Turkey, the notion of nafs is a polysemic focal concept that encompasses ideas and practices simultaneously relating to the person, the society and the cosmos as a whole. To understand these notions and values, this article analyses the way in which the Alawites/Nusairies conceptualise the emergence of the nafs within the overall process of procreation and examines local beliefs in rebirth, 'metempsychosis' and 'gendered' souls.

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Bringing the Soul Back to the Self

Soul Retrieval in Neo-shamanism

Galina Lindquist

It has been generally agreed that rituals of healing work through transforming the embodied self; thus, they are especially fit to be analyzed as rituals in their own right. This chapter focuses on the ritual of soul retrieval as it is practiced by Western urban neo-shamans. It argues that apart from giving the patient new memories and new narratives of the self, this version of soul retrieval works by staging a formalized context for forgiveness, here conceptualized as reconciliation between the self and the mundane and divine others. It is argued, however, that the mechanism of this healing ritual is better understood in the light of New Age ontologies of the self, consciousness, and the divine, making ‘ritual in its own right‚’ a good first step towards re-engaging with the social.

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Spirit of the Future

Movement, Kinetic Distribution, and Personhood among Siberian Eveny

Olga Ulturgasheva

([1912] 2001: 48) characterized the human soul and particularly its capacity to leave the body momentarily in the event of temporary loss of consciousness, for example, during fainting fits, apoplexy, catalepsy, ecstasy, or dreams. However, the

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Rabbi Howard Cooper

-warming, rich, smooth, creamy, flavoursome cauliflower soup that you could imagine. His soup spoke more eloquently of the spirit than all our high-flown rabbinic waffling. This was food for – and from – the soul. It tasted, so to speak, of heaven. For Lionel

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Liana Chua

This article centers on the somatic modes through which ghosts, spirits, and other unseen beings are apprehended as felt experiences by the Bidayuh, an indigenous group of Malaysian Borneo. Such experiences reveal a local epistemology of supernatural encounters that associates vision with normality and its suspension with both sensory and social liminality. The second half of the article explores how this model has been extended to contemporary Bidayuh Christianity, thus rendering God, Jesus, and other personages viscerally real in people's lives. Drawing on the ethnography and recent developments in the anthropology of religion, I argue that these 'soul encounters' hold important theoretical and methodological lessons for anthropologists, pushing us to reshape our conceptions of belief, as well as our approaches to the study of ostensibly intangible religious phenomena.

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Souls and Arseholes

The Double Vision of The Century's Daughter

Jenny Newman

Pat Barker chronicles the lives that history ignores, and her best characters, though articulate, often find it hard to make themselves heard. Though her early work has been sometimes passed over by academics as gritty but less inventive than the later, she can be seen from her first novel onwards to be locating herself in a postmodernist tradition. Her use of dialogue, parody and pun, and her commitment to the communal and the choric, constantly remind us that her books are textual inventions; and her novels’ plots, instead of completing a pattern, seldom allow us to believe that her characters are consistent, or that their lives have a unifying purpose.