Cloth $97.50 ISBN: 9780226122625 Published May 2014
Paper $32.50 ISBN: 9780226122762 Published May 2014
E-book $7.00 to $30.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226122939 Published May 2014

Spirited Things

The Work of "Possession" in Afro-Atlantic Religions

Edited by Paul Christopher Johnson

Edited by Paul Christopher Johnson

344 pages | 11 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2014
Cloth $97.50 ISBN: 9780226122625 Published May 2014
Paper $32.50 ISBN: 9780226122762 Published May 2014
E-book $7.00 to $30.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226122939 Published May 2014
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. 
Stefania Capone, National Center for Scientific Research and School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences
Spirited Things is an ambitious and provocative work that casts a brilliant light over one of the more complex and critical issues in anthropology. It brings spirit possession into the heart of anthropological theory, revealing its central place in the ‘genealogy of modernity.’”
Sally M. Promey, editor of Sensational Religion
“A model study, provocative and compelling, a constellation of essays with both gravity and energy, Spirited Things rearranges spirit possession’s theoretical and contextual furnishings with striking consequences. Parsing the subject in relation to current scholarly frontiers where matter is reacquainted with spirit and things aspire to agency, Johnson’s volume invites an expansive audience of readers interested in materiality, religion, sensation, transatlantic slavery, and Afro-Atlantic modernities.”
Richard Price, author of First-Time, Travels with Tooy, and Rainforest Warriors.
“Trading geographical sweep for ethnographic and theoretical depth, this volume engages the relationship between spirit possession and materiality, helping to locate the place of possession in the genealogy of modernity—an innovative, stimulating take on Black Atlantic religions.”
Contents

PAUL CHRISTOPHER JOHNSON
INTRODUCTION / Spirits and Things in the Making of the Afro-Atlantic World

PAUL CHRISTOPHER JOHNSON
ONE / Toward an Atlantic Genealogy of “Spirit Possession”

STEPHAN PALMIÉ
TWO / The Ejamba of North Fairmount Avenue, the Wizard of Menlo Park, and the Dialectics of Ensoniment: An Episode in the History of an Acoustic Mask

PATRICK A. POLK
THREE / “Who’s Dat Knocking at the Door?” A Tragicomic Ethiopian Spirit Delineation in Three Parts

KRISTINA WIRTZ
FOUR / Spiritual Agency, Materiality, and Knowledge in Cuba

BRIAN BRAZEAL
FIVE / The Fetish and the Stone: A Moral Economy of Charlatans and Thieves

STEPHEN SELKA
SIX / Demons and Money: Possessions in Brazilian Pentecostalism

ELIZABETH McALISTER
SEVEN / Possessing the Land for Jesus

KAREN RICHMAN
EIGHT / Possession and Attachment: Notes on Moral Ritual Communication among Haitian Descent Groups

RAQUEL ROMBERG
NINE / Mimetic Corporeality, Discourse, and Indeterminacy in Spirit Possession

MICHAEL LAMBEK
TEN / Afterword: Recognizing and Misrecognizing Spirit Possession

Notes
Bibliography
Contributors
Index
 

For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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