Embodying Colonial Memories

Author : Paul Stoller



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    Embodying Colonial Memories is a study of the West African Hauka - spirits that grotesquely mimic and mock "Europeans" of the colonial epoch. Combining narrative description, historical analysis, and reflections on the importance of mimetic body in social theory, Paul Stoller uses the example of the Hauka to think creatively about spirit possession as a set of embodied practices with serious social, cultural and political consequences. In this book, Stoller argues that mimicry is about power in the world. To copy something is to master it, to tap its power. Through the Hauka, the Songhay have attempted to divert the power of the Europeans to oppose French colonial administration. The second President of Niger was himself a Hauka spirit medium who used elements of Hauka discourse to govern the Republic of Niger from 1974 to 1987.

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