HAU

On being present to history: Historicity and brigand spirits in Madagascar

Michael Lambek

Abstract


This paper explores the unexpected arrival of new spirits in possession of young spirit mediums at an annual ceremony in Majunga, Madagascar. I explore the significance of the event for local politics but also use it to exemplify a form of historicity different from that of Euroamerican historicism, with respect to both the structure of historical temporality and the nature of historical truth/knowledge, experience, responsiveness, and action. I argue further that the action of the spirits or mediums is simultaneously an interpretation of circumstances and that we might think more broadly of historical action as interpretive.

Keywords


historicity, history, responsiveness, interpretation, spirit possession, Madagascar

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14318/hau6.1.018