CFP: AAA 2012 -- Regimes of Invisibility

Skip to first unread message


Mar 27, 2012, 12:19:12 PM3/27/12
Regimes of Invisibility
A Panel for the 2012 AAA Meeting
San Fransisco, California

Numerous scholars have noted the privileged place of vision within
modern forms of knowledge production, and certainly technologies—from
google earth to video cameras for laparoscopic surgery—make it is easy
to feel as if everything today is being seen. However, the emerging
worlds of today must also contend with countless invisibilities, with
powerful actors that cannot be directly seen: the economy, fear, the
Holy Spirit, loyalty, radioactivity, risk, and histories, among many
others. Instead of being directly seen, these entities must be made
legible through various knowledges, affects, mediators, technologies,
and translations. As Bruno Latour shows, invisibilities are not mere
social constructions, nor are they autonomous realities beyond the
reach of the visible world. Rather, they are both made and real; they
are constructions and actors in the world. These invisibilities, in
concert with the actors that work to make them legible, are what
Latour labels “regimes of invisibility” (2010), the complex set of
practices and encounters that arise to “bring to light” the invisible.

The papers for this pane investigate “regimes of invisibility” through
ethnographically detailed accounts that track both the processes by
which invisibilities become legible and the consequences they have in
the world. Hence, these papers seek to address the following
questions: How are different “regimes of invisibility” put together in
practice? What diverse sources of agency contribute to the
construction of these invisibilities? How are controversies about
invisibilities resolved? What are the concrete political implications
of these various “regimes of invisibility”? Therefore, this panel
seeks to draw together topics that might normally be considered within
various subfields (e.g. anthropology of religion, economic
anthropology, environmental anthropology, science and technology
studies) and, instead, use their juxtaposition to broaden our
theoretical tools for thinking about invisibility.

We are open to a wide range of topics related to invisibility. A few
examples include the construction and consequences of the current
economic crisis through charts, graphs, foreclosure signs, and bank
statements; or, how nuclear radiation from Fukushima is made visible
through various procedures, test, and technologies; or, how the Holy
Spirit becomes manifest and shapes congregants’ futures in Pentecostal
churches through Biblical passages, the experience of speaking in
tongues, and stories of prosperity.

Please send abstracts to William Girard at by April

Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages