Author: Judy Rosenthal
Publisher: University of Virginia Press
Release Date: 1998-01-01
Genre: Social Science
As a new resident of Togo in 1985, Judy Rosenthal witnessed her first Gorovodu trance ritual. Over the next eleven years, she studied this voodoo in West Africa's Ewe populations of coastal Ghana, Togo, and Benin, an area once called the Slave Coast. The result is Possession, Ecstasy, and Law in Ewe Voodoo, an ethnography of spirit possession that focuses on law and morality in "medecine Vodu" orders. Gorovodu is not a doctrinal set, but rather a lingusitic, moral, and spiritual community, with both real and imagined aspects. In medecine Vodu possession, the deities evoked are spirits of "bought people" from the savanna regions, slaves who worked for southern coastal lineages, often marrying into Ewe families. Drumming and dancing rituals, replete with voluptuous trances and gender reversals, bring these "foreign" spirits back into Ewe communities to protect worshippers, heal the sick and troubled, arbitrate disputes, and enjoy themselves as they did before they died. (Rosenthal employs Bakhtin's theory of carnival to interpret the openly festive element of Gorovodu.) The changeable nature of the religion echoes the lack of boundaries of the Gorovodu family and the residents' belief that communal and individual identity are fluid rather than fixed. Numerous name changes early in this century indicated a strategy for resisting colonial control. Writing from a background of anthropology, Rosenthal carefully monitors her own role as narrator in the book, aware of the cultural distance between her and the Africans she is writing about. She intends this ethnography to mirror the "texts" of voodoo itself, a body of signifiers and meanings with which the reader must interact in order to make sense of it.
Author: Sandra E. Greene
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Release Date: 2002-05-14
"Greene gives the reader a vivid sense of the Anlo encounter with western thought and Christian beliefs... and the resulting erasures, transferences, adaptations, and alterations in their perceptions of place, space, and the body." -- Emmanuel Akyeampong Sandra E. Greene reconstructs a vivid and convincing portrait of the human and physical environment of the 19th-century Anlo-Ewe people of Ghana and brings history and memory into contemporary context. Drawing on her extensive fieldwork, early European accounts, and missionary archives and publications, Greene shows how ideas from outside forced sacred and spiritual meanings associated with particular bodies of water, burial sites, sacred towns, and the human body itself to change in favor of more scientific and regulatory views. Anlo responses to these colonial ideas involved considerable resistance, and, over time, the Anlo began to attribute selective, varied, and often contradictory meanings to the body and the spaces they inhabited. Despite these multiple meanings, Greene shows that the Anlo were successful in forging a consensus on how to manage their identity, environment, and community.
Author: Jeffrey E. Anderson
Release Date: 2015-08-26
This compelling reference work introduces the religions of Voodoo, a onetime faith of the Mississippi River Valley, and Vodou, a Haitian faith with millions of adherents today. • Addresses both Vodou and Voodoo • Situates the religions both religiously and historically • Examines the African contributions to the faiths on a regional basis • Introduces important gods and ceremonies
Author: Ana Lucia Araujo
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Release Date: 2009-05-05
Genre: Social Science
This book focusses on the several forms of reconstructing the slave past in the present. The recent emergence of the memory of slavery allows those who are or who claim to be descendents of slaves to legitimize their demand for recognition and for reparations for past wrongs. Some reparation claims encompass financial compensation, but very often they express the need for memorialization through public commemoration, museums, and monuments. In some contexts, presentification of the slave past has helped governments and the descendants of former masters and slave merchants to formulate public apologies. For some, expressing repentance is not only a means to erase guilt but also a way to gain political prestige. The authors analyse different aspects of the recent phenomenon of memorializing slavery, especially the practices employed to stage the slave past in both public and private spaces. The essays present memory and oblivion as part of the same process; they discuss reconstructions of the past in the present at different public and private levels through historiography, photography, exhibitions, monuments, memorials, collective and individual discourses, cyberspace, religion and performance. By offering a comparative perspective on the United States and West Africa, as well as on Western Europe, South America, and the Caribbean, the chapters offer new possibilities to explore the resurgence of the memory of slavery as a transnational movement in our contemporary world.
Author: John Parker
Publisher: OUP Oxford
Release Date: 2013-10-10
The Oxford Handbook of Modern African History represents an invaluable tool for historians and others in the field of African studies. This collection of essays, produced by some of the finest scholars currently working in the field, provides the latest insights into, and interpretations of, the history of Africa - a continent with a rich and complex past. An understanding of this past is essential to gain perspective on Africa's current challenges, and this accessible and comprehensive volume will allow readers to explore various aspects - political, economic, social, and cultural - of the continent's history over the last two hundred years. Since African history first emerged as a serious academic endeavour in the 1950s and 1960s, it has undergone numerous shifts in terms of emphasis and approach, changes brought about by political and economic exigencies and by ideological debates. This multi-faceted Handbook is essential reading for anyone with an interest in those debates, and in Africa and its peoples. While the focus is determinedly historical, anthropology, geography, literary criticism, political science and sociology are all employed in this ground-breaking study of Africa's past.
Author: Saidiya Hartman
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date: 2008-01-22
In Lose Your Mother, Saidiya Hartman journeys along a slave route in Ghana, following the trail of captives from the hinterland to the Atlantic coast. She retraces the history of the Atlantic slave trade from the fifteenth to the twentieth century and reckons with the blank slate of her own genealogy. There were no survivors of Hartman's lineage, nor far-flung relatives in Ghana of whom she had come in search. She traveled to Ghana in search of strangers. The most universal definition of the slave is a stranger—torn from kin and country. To lose your mother is to suffer the loss of kin, to forget your past, and to inhabit the world as a stranger. As both the offspring of slaves and an American in Africa, Hartman, too, was a stranger. Her reflections on history and memory unfold as an intimate encounter with places—a holding cell, a slave market, a walled town built to repel slave raiders—and with people: an Akan prince who granted the Portuguese permission to build the first permanent trading fort in West Africa; an adolescent boy who was kidnapped while playing; a fourteen-year-old girl who was murdered aboard a slave ship. Eloquent, thoughtful, and deeply affecting, Lose Your Mother is a powerful meditation on history, memory, and the Atlantic slave trade.
Author: Jeffrey E. Anderson
Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group
Release Date: 2008
Genre: Body, Mind & Spirit
Hoodoo, voodoo, and conjure are part of a mysterious world of magic that has long captured the popular imagination. This book is a convenient introduction to the subject for students and general readers. An opening chapter defines and classifies these magical beliefs and practices. This is followed by a wide range of examples and texts illustrating the richness of this spiritual tradition. The volume additionally discusses the presence of hoodoo, voodoo, and conjure in popular culture, whether in literary works or in such films as The Skeleton Key, and it overviews the scholarly treatment of the topic. The volume closes with a glossary and bibliography.
Author: Jean Marie Allman
Publisher: Indiana Univ Pr
Release Date: 2005
For many Africanist historians, traditional religion is simply a starting point for measuring the historic impact of Christianity and Islam. In Tongnaab, Jean Allman and John Parker challenge the distinction between tradition and modernity by tracing the movement and mutation of the powerful Talensi god and ancestor shrine, Tongnaab, from the savanna of northern Ghana through the forests and coastal plains of the south. Using a wide range of written, oral, and iconographic sources, Allman and Parker uncover the historical dynamics of cross-cultural religious belief and practice. They reveal how Tongnaab has been intertwined with many themes and events in West African history -- the slave trade, colonial conquest and rule, capitalist agriculture and mining, labor migration, shifting ethnicities, the production of ethnographic knowledge, and the political projects that brought about the modern nation state. This rich and original book shows that indigenous religion has been at the center of dramatic social and economic changes stretching from the slave trade to the tourist trade.
Author: Benjamin Nicholas Lawrance
Publisher: Woeli Pub Serv
Release Date: 2005
Coordinated by the West African Organisation for Research on Eweland, this publication constitutes a first and much needed English language survey of the history and cultures of the Ewe peoples in the former French colonies, Benin and Togo. The colonial legacy has meant discontinuity in the research conducted on and by the Ewe peoples in Ghana, with the Ewe peoples in the Francophone countries, a more-or-less ethnically and linguistically homogonous people. Hence this book aims to be a step towards re-connecting knowledge and scholarship about the Ewe across the linguistic and geographical divide in the postcolonial period. Charting the history, development, politics and economies activities of the Ewe in Benin and Togo, the work brings together new sociological, cultural, historical and linguistic data, most of which is primary research, previously unpublished in any form.