Slavery, Memory and Religion in Southeastern Ghana, c.1850–Present

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Cambridge University Press, Aug 10, 2015 - History
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Based on a decade of fieldwork in southeastern Ghana and analysis of secondary sources, this book aims to reconstruct the religious history of the Anlo-Ewe peoples from the 1850s. In particular, it focuses on a corpus of rituals collectively known as 'Fofie', which derived their legitimacy from engaging with the memory of the slave-holding past. The Anlo developed a sense of discomfort about their agency in slavery in the early twentieth century which they articulated through practices such as ancestor veneration, spirit possession, and by forging links with descendants of peoples they formerly enslaved. Conversion to Christianity, engagement with 'modernity', trans-Atlantic conversations with diasporan Africans, and citizenship of the postcolonial state coupled with structural changes within the religious system - which resulted in the decline in Fofie's popularity - gradually altered the moral emphases of legacies of slavery in the Anlo historical imagination as the twentieth century progressed.
 

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Contents

Ghosts of Slavery?
1
Portrait of a People
25
AnloEwe Religion
47
Slavery in the Anlo Imagination
75
Religion and Society in Early Modern Anlo
102
Gods from the North c 1910c 1940
125
The Dynamics of Anlo Religion
155
Ritual Servitude TransAtlantic
187
Bibliography
215
Index
229
155
235
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About the author (2015)

Meera Venkatachalam was awarded her Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in 2007. She has conducted postdoctoral work at the Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh. Her writing has appeared in Africa (journal of the International African Institute) and the Journal of African History.

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