Society for Cultural Anthropology
Society for Humanistic Anthropology
Cosponsored - Oral Presentation Session
As I interviewed former students who occupied Sofia University between October 2013 and January 2014 in Bulgaria, I was struck by the way many of them described their experiences of the occupied space. Their descriptions of the Rectorate building of the university, an iconic building with commanding, grand presence in the city, did not recall an inert space that served as a frame for the occupation but revealed a deeply sensorial, imaginative and poetic experience of the space. Students shared visions of the Rectorate becoming something other to itself, imagining its transformations into multiple parallel and living possibilities. These wonderous transformation were double-visions, in which students remained very much aware of the “real” space and of their situation. In addition, stories of enchanted entry into the building revealed how such double-visions might have been fostered by moments of enchantment, which repeated. This paper will explore enchantment’s potential to cultivate the kind of attentiveness and openness that might be needed to “see” the occupied space and the student occupation and its possibilities differently. I also trace how such double-visions continue to disrupt and split a disappointing “real” and to release other possibilities into the former students’ lives today.