Holy Infrastructures: On Catholicism, Detroit and the Elementals

Bex Sussman

Holy Infrastructures: On Catholicism, Detroit and the Elementals

April 24, 2023 / 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm / Add to Google
470 Stephens Hall

Valentina Napolitano, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto and Visiting Scholar at the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion

Through an ethnographic focus on the Catholic Church at the Detroit/Windsor borderland, this talk explores elemental forces such as water, soil and air as entities that constitute part of the (theo)political and religious forces of holy infrastructures. Those elementals and their interrelations can be studied as infrastructural flows which are oriented by an incarnation of a divine mediated through urban, theological and labor scales, in both (dis)enabling as well as racialized forms.

Valentina Napolitano is Professor of Anthropology, a Connaught Scholar and a former Director of the Latin American Studies program at the University of Toronto. She works on Critical Catholic Studies as well as on anthropology of affects, borderlands and migration, and has a particular interest in political theology, affective histories, anthropology of traces, mysticism and politics, and the work of Michel de Certeau. She is a co-recipient (with S. Coleman) of a Connaught Global Challenge Award for a project on Entangled Worlds: Sovereignty, Sanctities and Soil and the author of two ethnographic monographs: Migrant Hearts and the Atlantic Return: Transnationalism and the Roman Catholic Church (FUP, 2016, Finalist Geertz Prize of the Society for Anthropology of Religion) and Migration, Mujercitas and Medicine Men: Living in Urban Mexico (UCP, 2002). She is also the co-editor (with K. Norget and M. Mayblin) of The Anthropology of Catholicism: A Reader (UCP, 2017), and has authored many articles and special issues including with C. McAllister Theopolitics in/of the Americas (Social Analysis, 2020).

Presented by the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion with generous support from the Henry Luce Foundation.