Possessed by a slave, not slavery

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The present paper is divided into three large steps around the themes of spirit possession and the historical imagination of slavery in Cuba. These three steps reflect both ethnographic dimensions of these themes and broader theoretical approaches towards them. The last step, ‘apomimesis’, is the one proposed by the author, not by way of replacement but displacement. The first step, ‘formulaic’ historical imagination, covers the ground of a direct expression of slavery as historical trauma through spirit possession. The second step, ‘mimesis’, displaces the first by adding into it the possibility of reversal, of empowerment, the slave becoming an antislave. The third creates another simultaneous condition. Through the negative dialectics of apomimesis the nonslave emerges.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-22
Number of pages20
JournalSuomen Antropologi
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • AfroCuban religion
  • Divination
  • Historical imagination
  • Mimesis
  • Negative dialectics
  • Slavery
  • Spirit possession


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