Abstract: The capacity to feel and express themselves in response to worldly surroundings is a defining feature of who a person living with dementia is, and can have profound effects on the ways in which they think, act and express creativity. Drawing on a year of intensive collaborative work with residents living with dementia in an Orthodox Jewish care home in London, I extend our perceptions and understandings of how a couple experiences their day-to-day lives, with particular attention paid to their affective practice in creativity. I demonstrate how the affective creativity of the couple emerges, circulates, and transforms as a spouse’s dementia develops, whilst feeling bodies continuously (re)make relations and familiarize themselves with the immediate surroundings through the making of artworks.
Topics: Main Topic: Other, Chabad-Lubavitch, Haredi / Strictly Orthodox Jews, Hassidim, Health, Religious Belief, Anthropology
Abstract: Testimonials of miraculous healing offered by Lubavitch Hasidim evoke images of exile and restitution which derive from Kabbalistic texts. Mediated practically through the person of the Rebbe, these testimonials articulate both immediate affliction and ultimate meaning, physical embodiment as well as symbolic representation, each constituting the other. Both Kabbalah and medical anthropology attempt to transcend not dissimilar epistemological dualisms: those characteristic of monotheism and contemporary science. Yet the ‘lower root’ of Kabbalah affirms a material reality known through immediate sensory experience which recalls the rationale of biomedicine.