Université d'Erfurt

Tomás Bartoletti: Ehemaliger Gast-Doktorand

Gastdoktorand am Max-Weber-Kolleg von Oktober 2017 bis September 2018


Tomás Bartoletti read Classical Philology, Latin American Linguistic and Literature at University of Buenos Aires (2004-2010) and History and Sociology of Science and Technology at the University of Quilmes (2011-2014). He held a doctoral scholarship at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (Argentina, 2012-2017) and at the Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst (Germany, 2014-2016). Before coming to the Max-Weber-Kolleg, Bartoletti was Guest in University of Essen-Duisburg (2006), University of Zürich (2012) and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (2014-2016).


Bartoletti’s PhD research examines the epistemological configuration of “Ancient Divination” between the representation of mantic practices in the Old comedy of Aristophanes and the way in which this source was interpreted to lay the basis of the modern discourse of “superstition”, “irrationality” and “primitive thought”, concepts that constituted this object in the field of Classical Studies and Anthropology. The Aristophanic mantic scenes were used in studies of ancient divination as evidence of prophetic fraud. On the contrary, the valuable testimony that a praxeological-constructivist analysis might offer as a work representing the performance of mantic practices in Aristophanic comedy was omitted. In Aristophanes’ comedy and by means of his particular anti-realist ethnography, it is possible to recover sociotechnical elements, materiality, historical references and cognitive dynamics tied to religion that other ancient sources do not portray. The analysis of Aristophanic sources under a praxeological-constructivist perspective has occupied the first part of his research and is the necessary complement for the study of the modern discourse of “superstition”, “irrationality” and “primitive thought” that Classical Studies and Anthropology constructed jointly.

The second part of his research that he will develop at Max-Weber-Kolleg focuses on the analysis of colonial chronicles of Americas, the projection of the European concepts of “idols” and “oracles” in these territories, and the appropriation and reception of such chronicles in the context of polemics on superstition and primitive thought in modern Europe. This discursive production constructed from outside Europe established the bases of colonialist ethnography and served as fieldwork for the subsequent epistemological configurations between Anthropology and Classical Studies in the study of “Ancient” and “Primitive” religion. This second part of his research is fundamental for justifying epistemologically the novelty of a praxeological perspective applied to ancient Greek mantic practices. This perspective seeks to redefine the bases of the “divination” object both in Classical Studies and in Anthropology and its epistemological principles of Eurocentric roots. As a consequence of this reflection, the possibility arises of using indigenous theories and Amerindian perspectives on rituality, agency, personhood, environment and relational epistemology for the analysis of ancient phenomena.

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