Speaker is Jessica Hardin, Assistant Professor at Pacific University. 

Rates of cardiometabolic disorders have been rising since the 1950s across Oceania. In Samoa, obesity, diabetes, hypertension rates range from 40% to 50% of the population. At the same time, Pentecostal Christian churches began to grow across Samoa as well. Based on fourteen months of ethnographic fieldwork, this talk will explore how salvational and metabolic logics have become entwined across clinics, churches and households. Pentecostal faith practices position the body as an intermediary space where people can come to know God as the body provides evidence of that relationship. The body’s fluctuations mirror fluctuations in faith, and for Pentecostals faith is something that is always challenged by external (and often considered evil) forces. This flux in the body follows a logic of metabolism, where bodily flux reflects the increasingly unpredictable embodied processes related to food consumption. Samoan Pentecostals thus decussated fluctuations in “sugar” (blood glucose) and “blood” (high or low blood pressure) as reflections of emotional states, depression, anger, stress. Faith and metabolism interconnected in everyday practice as they both provided novel frameworks from which to understand environmental change—in food, land use, labor—revealing their similarities as (biomedical and religious) metaphors for situating the body in context. For examples, I will talk about conversion, narrative and healing practices as articulations of the interrelatedness of salvational and metabolic logics. To conclude, I will offer some reflections on the temporal dynamics that articulate the similarities of these logics, and introduce future research more specifically focused on this theme.

This event is free and open to the public.


4 p.m. March 26, 2019


Please join the Division for Late Medieval and Reformation Studies for its annual Town and Gown Lecture. This year our distinguished visitor will be Alexander J. Fisher, Professor of Music at the University of British Columbia. He will speak on "Sound Propaganda: On Sound and Music in Early Modern Religious Persuasion" on Tuesday, March 12, 7:00 PM, in the UA Fred Fox School of Music's Alice Y. Holsclaw Recital Hall.

The use of propaganda is both a very old and a very new story. On the one hand, the advent of a technologized mass media since the twentieth century compels us to recognize the political instrumentalization of propaganda; on the other hand propaganda, understood primarily through the vehicle of the printing press, has long been seen as a crucial means of persuasion, not least in the Reformations and Counter-Reformations of early modern Europe. Scholars of early modern propaganda have often emphasized the silent media of printed sources and visual objects, but sound has largely evaded our scrutiny. Did sound—and music as its more specific expression—operate as “propaganda” in early modern Europe, and in what ways did it convey a persuasive message? The present talk unpacks these questions by considering some of the unique properties and ambiguities of sound and its role in religious persuasion in early modern Germany. Particular tunes, for example, conveyed propagandistic effect based on the texts with which they were originally associated; but at the same time, clear messages could be obscured by excessive musical complexity, shared musical traditions across confessional lines, and more generally by music’s semantic ambiguity. The emerging independence of instrumental music in the seventeenth century raises further questions about the power of sound to communicate in the absence of texts. Opening our ears to other kinds of artificial sounds—bell ringing, gunfire, and drumming, for instance—will compel broader consideration of how sound both enhanced and undermined the persuasive effect of early modern propaganda.

Alexander Fisher is Professor of Music at the University of British Columbia. A specialist in music, sound, and religious culture in early modern Germany,he is the author of Music and Religious Identity in Counter-Reformation Augsburg, 1580-1630 (Ashgate, 2004), and Music, Piety, and Propaganda: TheSoundscapes of Counter-Reformation Bavaria (Oxford, 2014). His work has also appeared in various journals, including the Journal of Musicology, Journal of the Royal Musical Association, Early Music History, and the Journal for Seventeenth-Century Music. His current research on soundscapes and confessional space in the Holy Roman Empire in the post-Reformation era is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


7 p.m. to 8 p.m. March 12, 2019


UA Fred Fox School of Music's Alice Y. Holsclaw Recital Hall

Professor Charles Kirschkind will give this year's 27th Annual Sabbagh lecture, “Flamenco and the Rediscovery of Islamic Spain.” Both the lecture and the reception that follows are free and open to the public.

Charles Hirschkind is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Hirschkind, who earned his Ph.D from Johns Hopkins University, researches religious practice, media technologies, and emergent forms of political community in the urban Middle East and Europe. His current project is based in southern Spain and explores some of the different ways in which Europe’s Islamic past inhabits its present, unsettling contemporary efforts to secure Europe’s Christian civilizational identity. Professor Hirschkind is the author of The Ethical Soundscape: Cassette Sermons and Islamic Counterpublics and co-editor of Powers of the Secular Modern: Talal Asad and his Interlocutors. He has published extensively on religion, politics, and history in the Middle East and Europe.

About the Lecture

In Flamenco, proponents of this movement found a musical form imbued with the experience of the Moors, forced into exile from their Iberian home in the 17th century, a music therefore with both Arabic and Spanish roots. Seeking to reclaim a history of cross-Mediterranean kinship that had been erased, first by the Spanish Inquisition, and then by a nationalist historiography, the Andalucistas came to see this musical form as a receptacle of buried memory.

In their writings, the pioneering figures of this movement, including Gil Benumeya and the poet Federico Garcia Lorca, returned again and again to this music, tracing out each line and curve of its emotional geometry. These lines and curves invariably led to the south and east, to the Arabs, Jews, and Gypsies whose historical experience on Iberian soil resonated in the cry of the Flamenco singer and the strum of the guitar. Through an exploration of this tradition of historical reflection on Spain’s entwinement with the Middle East, Hirschkind hopes to contribute to a discussion on the place of aesthetic, and particularly musical, sensibilities in shaping our relation to the past.

About the Sabbagh Lectures

The School of Anthropology is very pleased to present this series of distinguished speakers in the Sabbagh Lectures. The lectures focus on the Arab cultures of the Middle East from an anthropological perspective. Through the generosity of Drs. Entisar and Adib Sabbagh, an expert in Arab cultures is brought to campus each year. The guest speaker participates in one public lecture and a master seminar for graduate students.

Dr. Entisar (Vivi) Sabbagh is a Ph.D. graduate of the UA School of Anthropology, and Dr. Adib Sabbagh is a Tucson cardiac surgeon. The Sabbaghs are sponsoring these lectures to enhance public understanding and appreciation for the complexity and diversity of Arab cultures. The lectures also serve to enrich the curriculum of the School of Anthropology by bringing to it the expertise of eminent scholars.



7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 21, 2019


Tucson Marriott University Park, 880 East 2nd Street

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