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: Jane Monnig Atkinson
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Release Date: 1992-03-10
"This book is a marvelous counterpoint to the rich scholarship that has developed on the 'center' in Southeast Asian societies, providing for the first time an in-depth study of the play of personhood and power—and their historical transformations—on the Indonesian 'periphery.'"—Toby Alice Volkman, Social Science Research Council "A very important work, not only for the specialists of island Southeast Asia, but also for the general anthropologist. Atkinson accomplishes a number of tasks in fresh and innovative ways."—George E. Marcus, Rice University "Impressively informed by major theoretical issues, Atkinson's work at the same time brings her readers into the everyday world of the Wana in Sulawesi, Indonesia."—Renato Rosaldo, Stanford University
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: James M. Burns
Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
Release Date: 2009
James Burns provides a detailed ethnography of a group of female musicians from the Dzigbordi community dance-drumming club from the rural town of Dzodze, located in South-Eastern Ghana. Dzigbordi is part of a genre known as adekede, or female songs of redress, where women musicians critique gender relations in society. Burns uses audio and video interviews, recordings of rehearsals and performances and detailed collaborative analyses of song texts, dance routines and performance practice to address important methodological shifts in ethnomusicology that outline a more humanistic perspective of music cultures. The book will appeal to those interested in African Studies, Gender Studies and Oral Literature, as well as ethnomusicology and includes a DVD documentary.
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: Gananath Obeyesekere
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Release Date: 2014-02-08
Genre: Social Science
The great pilgrimage center of southeastern Sri Lanka, Kataragama, has become in recent years the spiritual home of a new class of Hindu-Buddhist religious devotees. These ecstatic priests and priestesses invariably display long locks of matted hair, and they express their devotion to the gods through fire walking, tongue-piercing, hanging on hooks, and trance-induced prophesying. The increasing popularity of these ecstatics poses a challenge not only to orthodox Sinhala Buddhism (the official religion of Sri Lanka) but also, as Gananath Obeyesekere shows, to the traditional anthropological and psychoanalytic theories of symbolism. Focusing initially on one symbol, matted hair, Obeyesekere demonstrates that the conventional distinction between personal and cultural symbols is inadequate and naive. His detailed case studies of ecstatics show that there is always a reciprocity between the personal-psychological dimension of the symbol and its public, culturally sanctioned role. Medusa's Hair thus makes an important theoretical contribution both to the anthropology of individual experience and to the psychoanalytic understanding of culture. In its analyses of the symbolism of guilt, the adaptational and integrative significance of belief in spirits, and a host of related issues concerning possession states and religiosity, this book marks a provocative advance in psychological anthropology.
Author: Margaret Paxson
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Release Date: 2005
This is an ethnography of a Russian village: the everyday social and agricultural routines of the village as well as religous practices, cosmology, beliefs and practices surrounding health and illness, the melding of Orthodox and communist traditions and their post-Soviet evolution.
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: Kodi A. Roberts
Publisher: LSU Press
Release Date: 2015-11-13
The racialized and exoticized cult of Voodoo occupies a central place in the popular image of the Crescent City. But as Kodi A. Roberts argues in Voodoo and Power, the religion was not a monolithic tradition handed down from African ancestors to their American-born descendants. Instead, a much more complicated patchwork of influences created New Orleans Voodoo, allowing it to move across boundaries of race, class, and gender. By employing late nineteenth and early twentieth-century first-hand accounts of Voodoo practitioners and their rituals, Roberts provides a nuanced understanding of who practiced Voodoo and why. Voodoo in New Orleans, a mélange of religion, entrepreneurship, and business networks, stretched across the color line in intriguing ways. Roberts’s analysis demonstrates that what united professional practitioners, or “workers,” with those who sought their services was not a racially uniform folk culture, but rather the power and influence that Voodoo promised. Recognizing that social immobility proved a common barrier for their patrons, workers claimed that their rituals could overcome racial and gendered disadvantages and create new opportunities for their clients. Voodoo rituals and institutions also drew inspiration from the surrounding milieu, including the privations of the Great Depression, the city’s complex racial history, and the free-market economy. Money, employment, and business became central concerns for the religion’s practitioners: to validate their work, some began operating from recently organized “Spiritual Churches,” entities that were tax exempt and thus legitimate in the eyes of the state of Louisiana. Practitioners even leveraged local figures like the mythohistoric Marie Laveau for spiritual purposes and entrepreneurial gain. All the while, they contributed to the cultural legacy that fueled New Orleans’s tourist industry and drew visitors and their money to the Crescent City.