Spirited Things: The Work of

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

by Paul Christopher Johnson

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Overview

Spirited Things: The Work of "Possession" in Afro-Atlantic Religions by Paul Christopher Johnson

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. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226122939
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 05/07/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 344
File size: 5 MB

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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