Mourning, Magic, Ecstatic Healing Ernesto de Martino

International Conference
Mourning, Magic, Ecstatic Healing  Ernesto de Martino
Do, 9.7.  Fr, 10.7.2015
Kontakt: Martin Treml
Venue: Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung, Schützenstraße 18, 10117 Berlin
Thursday, 9.7.
14.00: Welcome and Introduction
14.30: I. Comparative Perspectives
Ulrich van Loyen  (Köln): Crisis, Mimesis, Transformation
De Martinos Unexpected Gift to German Cultural Theory
Martin Treml (ZfL): Nachleben of Antiquity in De Martino and Warburg
16.30 Break
17.00: II. Religion and Anthropology
Marcello Massenzio (Paris): History and Religion: A Complex Relationship
Giordana Charuty (Paris): Le monde magique peut-il inquiéter lhistoire de
19.00 Break
19.30: III: Evening Lecture
Carlo Ginzburg (Pisa): On De Martinos Project The End of the World, and its Genesis
 Friday, 10.7.
10.00: IV. Pianto rituale
Davide Stimilli (Colorado): The Luxury of Tears: Warburg and De Martino on Klage and
Sigrid Weigel (ZfL): Mourning and Lament  il mondo antico in a Christian Guise
12.00 Break (Catering)
13.00: V: De Martinos Field Work
Michaela Schäuble (Bern): Ecstatic Encounters: Spectacle and Reenactment in the Work of  De Martino and his Successors
Alexandra Rieder (Wien): Passagi inattesi nella terra del rimorso (1961). Rilettura critica del bestseller demartiniano attraverso la partitura
polifonica sulla spedizione nel Salento del 1959
15.00 Break
15.30 VI. Crisis and Rituals
Stefano De Matteis (Salerno): The Disappearance of Traditions and the Need for Symbols.
 De Martinos Approach to Ethnography of Ritual in his Late
Katrin Solhdju (ZfL): The irrational per se never exists! De Martinos
Methodological Stance and its Repercussions in Ethnopsychiatry
17.30 Break
Charles Stewart (London): Economic Crisis and the Crisis of Presence: An
Ethnographic Study of Naxos, Greece
19.00 Refreshments (Catering)
20.00 Viewing video and audio material of De Martinos field work
The discovery of the South as terra magica, as a place where age-old, pre-ancient traditions of the Mediterranean merged with the Christian belief in saints was the central concern in the work of Ernesto de Martino (1908-1965). While the research conducted by the cultural scientist from Napoli remains mostly unknown in Germany, its impact in Italy was groundbreaking. A student of Benedetto Croce, this social anthropologist and religious studies scholar would also later become a member of the Italian Communist Party (PCI). During his field research in Southern Italy and on Sardinia he observed rituals of a mondo antico and mondo magico that can be traced back to shamanistic ideas persevering even in light of Ancient Greeces cultural legacy. Mourning and healing practices of this nature as well as rituals of enchantment or dissolution, all of which use a range of various mediums, prove to be means of representing and remedying experiences of personal crisis, such as death, sickness, or childlessness, via collective rituals. We can still see the continuation of this tradition in the tarantella as a part of the Souths musical culture. De Martino recorded his field research using both phono- and photographic technology as well as film. Segments of his materials were shown to a larger audience on the Italian state-run television station, RAI; the publics reaction to this encounter with their own pre-history was just as much marked by disturbance as it was by fascination. Following the upheavals in the 1960s and 1970s, that world of southern Italy went to ruin. In fact, it has virtually disappeared, along with the huge tobacco fields of Salento and their seasonal workers, and the rural culture of Lucania.
With his interest in the effectiveness of symbolic forms, the expressivity of pathos formulas, and the present-day relevance of the archaic, de Martino may be considered part of a line of theoreticians that includes Ernst Cassirer, Aby Warburg, Sigmund Freud and others. The fact that he remains basically unknown in Germany might be due to the fact that there are no translations of his most important works: Il mondo magico: Prolegomeni a una storia del magismo (1948), Morte e pianto rituale. Dal lamento funebre antico al pianto di Maria (1958), La terra del rimorso. Contributo a una storia religiosa del Sud (1961)  each one a masterpiece of method in the field of cultural science.

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