Faculty Research Fellows Talk with Lochlann Jain

Lochlann Jain
Thu November 16th 2023, 12:00 - 1:00pm
Lochlann Jain

Lochlann Jain: "Heroic Intimacies: Drowning as an Archive of Air and Water"

The medical term “apparently drowned,” emerged in the mid-eighteenth century to describe a kaleidoscopic gap between potential life and potential death. The “seemingly,” or “so far as one can judge” dead, unbreathing body embodied a moment of possibility if only one knew how to actively extract it. As drowning became a focus of social attention, interest gathered around developing resuscitation methods and materials. These often focused on everything other than respiration despite the fact that the links between air, lungs, and life were one of the first concerns of experimental science in the 1600s.

Professor Jain develops the history of how this question has been addressed through a series of doubling events that have defined more broadly how people have understood what it means to be alive in relation to death, animate in relation the inanimate. Jain tracks the contiguity of the apparently drowned body with other partially animated proxies: diagrams, drawings, paintings, casts, corpses, masks, dolls, models, all of which became foils by which to practice affective responses to [particular] human bodies in [particular sorts of] trouble and nodes through which community could be practiced and interpellated through ideologies of rescue and feelings of responsibility. Jain will also show some of the medals cast as a parallel art project.

Lochlann Jain is Professor of Anthropology.

Clayman Faculty Affiliates are welcome to attend the lunch seminars.  All Stanford academics are eligible to become Clayman Institute Faculty Affiliates. Please RSVP to Lea Gottlieb (lgottlie [at] stanford.edu (lgottlie[at]stanford[dot]edu)) if you wish to attend.