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