Digesting Stephan Palmie's ´ Cooking of History MICHAEL LAMBEK University of Toronto At one place in this complex but engaging and invigorating book Stephan Palmie remarks that until the publication of Sidney Mintz's Sweetness and ´ Power (1985) the questions associated with scholarship on the Caribbean were seen to be on the periphery of anthropological theory. In Palmie's hands, and ´ very much in the spirit of Mintz, the Caribbean is again at the forefront of theory in another way, illustrating in a particularly sharp and challenging fashion the fact that all our subject matter, both of substance--like culture, Santeria, the Yoruba--and of places--Africa, Cuba, Yorubaland--and hence ´ of entities like ``Afro-Cuban religion''--are objectifications. They are all products of what Ian Hacking has called historical ontology; in other words, both the signifiers and their referents are historically constituted. One question to ask about such objectifications concerns their relative solidity and stability. With respect to those under direct discussion within the book, Palmie describes continuous historical change. The fluidity is not ´ merely temporal, but spatial, morphing along shifting boundaries of what is classified as one institution, tradition, or place, rather than another. One of the consequences of this
Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: Feb 5, 2015
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