WORKING GROUP 8 Speaking Material/ity

Ansprechpartnerin: Nele Schneidereit

The goal of the working group is to sharpen and make fit for the specific subject matters of the CRC 933 the notion of ‚affordance‘, which has originally perception psychological meaning, for not-scripture bearing artefacts and not-human made objects. Aiming at a more thorough examination of the agency and action offerings of scripture bearing artefacts the working group refers to the Theory of Speech Acts, developed by Austin/Searle in the 1960s. They understand ‚speaking‘ as an action going beyond the mere stating of a proposition. Especially intriguing for the working group are the so called performative speech acts, in which statement and performed action coincide. There are already attempts to apply the theory of speech acts on scriptures, though it was developed for spoken language. Also, there are approaches to merge materiality/matter and the power of speech. Drawing on these ideas, the working group sets out to test a ‘material’ interpretation of the Theory of Speech Acts as it understands texts on (real or fictional) artefacts like e.g. tomb steles, walls or amulets as speech acts which are in particular ways entwined with the materiality of the scripture bearing things.

In order to see these material speech acts more context related, the working group will operate on a wide notion of ‚episteme‘ as ‘knowing how to do something’. It is assumed that artefacts with speech acts participate in certain knowledge discourses which manifest themselves implicitly (an inscribed gravestone implies the knowledge about its production), but can also be made explicit (e.g. by publication of a medical formula on a stone tablet). Since material speech acts simultaneously continue to write the ‘episteme’, the working group is also interested in a diachronic analysis of speech acts as an investigation of the changes within the ‘episteme’ and the discourses on materiality and their respective practices.