Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

California Italian Studies

California Italian Studies banner

“If You Dance Alone, You Cannot Be Healed”: Relational Ontologies and "Epistemes of Contagion" in Salento (Italy)


In this article I focus on neo-animist, relational ontologies that are active within and beyond contemporary Pagan communities in the Salento area of Italy. By addressing case-studies such as "spiritual neotarantismo," the querelle around the Xylella Fastidiosa epidemics that has been affecting olive trees, and NoTAP activism, I argue that many Salentinians today pursue health and well-being by embracing neo-animist attitudes that consider human and non-human persons alike as kin. By analyzing these neo-animist stances in conversation with the work of the philosopher Roberto Esposito, I will offer examples of ways of being in which "contact, relationality, and being in common" are not "liquidated" (Esposito, Welch, and Lemm 2021a), but fostered and put at the center of personal and collective practices of well-being and of political activism.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View