Spirited Things: The Work of "Possession" in Afro-Atlantic Religions
Paul Christopher Johnson (Editor)
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DescriptionThe 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.
The University of Chicago Press
7 May 2014
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