Panel Discussion and Q&A with William Mazzarella Regarding The Mana of Mass Society

William Mazzarella will join us for a panel discussion and Q&A engagement with his recently published book, The Mana of Mass Society (Chicago, 2017). The session will begin with an introduction by Professor Stefania Pandolfo, followed by a brief introduction of the new book by Prof. Mazzarella. A panel of graduate students from the Department of Anthropology (Valerie Black, Ned Dostaler, Mohamad Jarada, Heather Mellquist Lehto, and Robyn Taylor-Neu) will then offer a set of prepared engagements with the book, to which Prof. Mazzarella will respond. Following this, the floor will be opened for a Q&A.

In The Mana of Mass Society, Mazzarella engages questions around the entanglement of social populism and media(tion)—questions that have become increasingly insistent over the past year. Here and now, this is a terribly important book. As such, it provides an opportunity to bring both intellectual and socio-political concerns to the table. All are welcome, and we hope that many will join, as it promises to be a evocative and stimulating conversation around a new, generative, and thoughtful text.

William T.S. Mazzarella is the Neukom Family Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. His research has attended to the politics of mass publicity and media in the South Asian context. Mazzarella’s scholarship is, however, of broader interest. His work is uniquely situated at the interstices of anthropology, social thought, and critical theory, and invokes diverse intellectual traditions. His books include Shoveling Smoke: Advertising and Globalization in Contemporary India (Duke, 2003) and Censorium: Cinema and the Open Edge of Mass Publicity (Duke, 2013). In his most recent book, The Mana of Mass Society (Chicago, 2017), Mazzarella recoups a handful of “magical” thinkers from the dustbins of social theory and draws out their surprising salience to the contemporary political moment.

Sponsored by the Department of Anthropology, the Townsend Center for the Humanities, the UC Berkeley Grad Assembly, the Institute for South Asia Studies; co-sponsored by the Program in Critical Theory.