A study of the West African Hauka - spirits that grotesquely mimic and mock Europeans of the colonial epoch. The author considers spirit possession as a set of embodied practices with serious social and cultural consequences. Embodying Colonial Memories is the first in-depth study of the West African Hauka, spirits in the body of (human) mediums which mimic and mock Europeans of the colonial epoch. Paul Stoller, who was initiated into a spirit possession troupe, recounts an insider's tale of the Hauka with respect and brotherly deference. He combines narrative description, historical analysis, and reflections on the importance of embodiment and mimesis to social theory, with particular reference to the Songhay peoples of the Republic of Niger.
About the Author:
Paul Stoller is Professor of Anthropology at West Chester University. He is the author of In Sorcery's Shadow (1987), Fusion of the Worlds (1989), The Taste ofEthnographic Things (1989) and The Cinematic Griot. He is currently conducting research among West African street vendors in New York City.