Spirited Things: The Work of "Possession" in Afro-Atlantic Religions

University of Chicago Press

Published by University of Chicago Press, 2014
ISBN 10: 022612262X / ISBN 13: 9780226122625
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Synopsis: The word “possession” is anything but transparent, especially as it developed in the context of the African Americas. There it referred variously to spirits, material goods, and people. It served as a watershed term marking both transactions in which people were made into things―via slavery―and ritual events by which the thingification of people was revised. In Spirited Things, Paul Christopher Johnson gathers together essays by leading anthropologists in the Americas that reopen the concept of possession on these two fronts in order to examine the relationship between African religions in the Atlantic and the economies that have historically shaped―and continue to shape―the cultures that practice them. Exploring the way spirit possessions were framed both by material things―including plantations, the Catholic church, the sea, and the phonograph―as well as by the legacy of slavery, they offer a powerful new way of understanding the Atlantic world. 

About the Author: Paul Christopher Johnson is professor of history and Afroamerican and African studies and director of the Doctoral Program in Anthropology and History at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is the author of Secrets, Gossip, and Gods: The Transformation of Brazilian Candomblé  and Diaspora Conversions: Black Carib Religion and the Recovery of Africa.

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Title: Spirited Things: The Work of "Possession" in...
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: 2014
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Good

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2014. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. The word "possession" is trickier than we often think, especially in the context of the Black Atlantic and its religions and economy. Here possession can refer to spirits, material goods, and, indeed, people. In Spirited Things, Paul Christopher Johnson gathers together essays by leading anthropologists in the Americas to explore the fascinating nexus found at the heart of the idea of being possessed. The result is a book that marries one of anthropology's foundational concerns - spirit possession - with one of its most salient contemporary ones: materiality. The contributors reopen the concept of possession in order to examine the relationship between African religions in the Atlantic and the economies that have historically shaped-and continue to shape-the cultures that practice them. They explore the way spirit mediation is framed both by material things-including plantations, the Catholic church, the sea, and the telegraph-as well as the legacy of slavery. In doing so, they offer a powerful new concept for understanding the Atlantic world and its history, creation, and deeply complex religious and political economy. Seller Inventory # BTA9780226122625

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