Constructing Data in Religious Studies - Examining the Architecture of the Academy - Leslie Dorrough Smith

Constructing Data in Religious Studies - Examining the Architecture of the Academy - Leslie Dorrough Smith

8. Surprised by History: Encountering Data in Religious Studies

Constructing Data in Religious Studies - Examining the Architecture of the Academy - Leslie Dorrough Smith

Holly White [+-]
Holly A. White received her Ph.D. from Syracuse University in the Department of Religion. Her dissertation addressed the modern aesthetic figure of Utopia and its relationship to critical methods in religious studies. Her areas of research include material culture, social theory, and modern literature.

Description

In this essay, the author draws attention to Matthew Baldwin's suspicions of recent discourses on materiality as just one more phenomenology. Holly White agrees with his frame of discourse analysis but think he too quickly skips over the materiality of history that funds his argument. This response addresses the potentials of historicization--potentials Baldwin labels as "surprises." By considering what informs scholarly surprise specifically, Holly White extends the term and relate it to how to describe the movements of political economy generally. In reflecting how the social field produces its objects, the author highlights that scholars are not the only site for object construction. Non-scholars, she argues, are under similar urgency to form objects; however it is the scholar who is tasked to give an account of these mechanisms of production. A more nuanced concept of history, what Fredric Jameson capitalizes as History, contributes to her own account of how materiality might appear as impersonal excess. It is this excess that is surprising and can occasion thought in scholars and non-scholars alike. To demonstrate the usefulness of broader notions of materialist surprises, the author reflects on two mundane objects relevant to popular religion to highlight how particularity can give way to the overwhelming substance of history.

Notify A Colleague

Citation

White, Holly. 8. Surprised by History: Encountering Data in Religious Studies. Constructing Data in Religious Studies - Examining the Architecture of the Academy. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 114-126 Oct 2019. ISBN 9781781796764. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=34173. Date accessed: 17 Nov 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.34173. Oct 2019

Dublin Core Metadata