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Liminality, Copresence, and Pneumareisis: Pathways to Knowing Ancestors in Anlo-Ewe

April 6, 2018 @ 9:30 am - 12:00 pm CDT


The 2018 African Studies Symposium “Honoring Ancestors in Africa and Beyond: Arts and Actions,” is a two-day Symposium exploring how various cultures remember, mourn, honor and celebrate those who have departed. Attendees will consider a wide range of examples of arts and actions from Africa and the African Diaspora, witness performances by Egungun masqueraders from Oyotunji African Village in South Carolina, and hear from a Ghanaian artist who creates coffins reflecting the lives of individuals. Let us explore these death traditions as we celebrate life — as Yoruba say “the world is a marketplace (we visit briefly), the otherworld is home.”

To register by Sunday, April 1, visit the symposium website at whirlingancestors.wisc.edu.

Guest artist Daniel Kodzo Avorgbedor will present Liminality, Copresence, and Pneumareisis: Pathways to Knowing Ancestors in Anlo-Ewe during the morning presentations:

This presentation focuses on the significant place of  ancestral traditions in understanding the critical space of the sacred-secular continuum in everyday and extraordinary contexts of the lived experience among the Anlo-Ewe. While common notions often associated with the liminal and immanence may allude to this continuum, I innovate and employ the term pneumareisis, which seems to most appropriately capture the meshed—not dual—constitution of the body (physical), mind (consciousness) and extracorporeal   states that enable and transcend body-mind-soul existentialities. Drawing on specific examples of practices and their philosophical-phenomenological foundations, this paper clarifies and locates the Anlo-Ewe ancestor (and ancestral traditions) in this mesh.  The notion of  pneumareisis provides a more plausible orientation and extended contexts in which liminality, immance. and copresence are refreshed continually to enrich the everyday unified world of ancestors, including the essential kodzogbe. The exploration of this mesh the kinds of attitude, mental, and psychic states that are indispensable in inhabiting and thus projecting more accurately the seen and scene-centered (megbe/nukpɔkpɔ) worlds inhabited and shared discursively by my ancestors.  Several corporeal, mental, gestural, and ritual-ceremonial traditions which illuminate the shared world of ancestors among the Anlo-Ewe are considered, including those from my immediate, personal environments.


April 6, 2018
9:30 am - 12:00 pm CDT
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L140 Conrad A. Elvehjem Building
800 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53706 United States
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