CAS Lecture Series: Constellations of Subjectivity: Dreams, Visions, and Priestly Becoming in the Rise of Akan Spirituality in the U.S

Event time: 
Wednesday, April 27, 2022 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm
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Event description: 

What are the roles of dreams and visions in the rise and revitalization of Akan spirituality in the U.S. and in its dynamic ties to a key source shrine in Ghana? How do the social, spiritual, and affective spaces of dreams and visions help to inaugurate new forms of subjectivity among priests, as they train, initiate, and become ever-more entwined with deities, ancestors, and other spirits? This talk draws upon extensive ethnographic research with Akan path priests in the U.S. and Ghana, focusing on three key authorities who govern shrine houses. It argues that dreams and visions – rather than being ancillary spaces – are vital domains through which priests commune with co-presences, participate in knowing and healing within their communities, and perpetually emerge in dynamic forms of multidimensional being that this piece calls constellations of subjectivity. These novel formations of priestly subjectivity intertwine with the building and sustaining of transnational modes of belonging and of communicating within the broader spiritual communities. This conceptual formulation of constellation contributes to current debates over subjectivity and subjectivation, affective resonances, co-presence and co-creation, and inhabiting ontologically plural worlds.

Lauren Coyle Rosen, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Princeton University