Providing a space for emergent thinking or re-thinking, and new methodological approaches, this panel highlights the value of anthropology and related disciplines in exploring the cultural, historical and phenomenological significance of breath, air, and atmospheres.
Breath is more than an automatic physiological process; it can be a subjective experience, a performative technique, a practice, and mode of being-in-the-world. To breathe is to make contact, to be exposed to the world and myriad forces within it. Breathing can be perceived as a process of interaction, engaging with the air, environment, technologies, knowledges, and atmospheres. It can be metaphorical or empirical. It has a rhythm, a pace, an affective quality, and brings space into evidence. Drawing upon Durham and Bristol Universities' interdisciplinary, Wellcome Trust-funded Life of Breath project (http://lifeofbreath.org/), and opening up aligned areas of interest, this panel explores themes seldom considered in anthropological and cross-cultural research: breath, air and atmospheres. Specifically, this panel follows the cultural, historical, and phenomenological significance of such phenomena - often unseen, left unelaborated or taken for granted. This panel provides a space for emergent thinking or re-thinking, and new methodological approaches, that highlight the value of anthropology and other disciplines for comprehending the meaning of breath, air, and atmospheres within the contexts they are understood and experienced. It seeks papers that, like breath itself, complicate dualisms such as inside/outside, absence/presence and appearance/disappearance, and by doing so aims to make the invisible, visible.