Timothy R Landry

Title: “Vodou, Secrecy and the Search for Divine Power”

Date: 5th July 2020

Time: 16:00 (UK)

NB This talk was NOT recorded

About our speaker Timothy R. Landry:

Timothy R. Landry is a professor of anthropology and religious studies at Trinity College in Hartford, CT (USA). His academic research focuses on the globalization of West African religious practice and the connections that exist between magic, the environment, and wildlife ecology. He’s also an initiated and active priest (Houngan) of Haitian Vodou, an Ifá diviner (Babalawo), and the High Priest of the Beacon Hill Coven in Boston, MA.

Talk: In this talk, Landry explores the will of objects and how sorcerers mobilize wilful things to achieve their goals. To accomplish this, he combines over a decade of ethnographic research with his time as a diviner’s apprentice in Bénin and his experience as a Gardnerian High Priest. By joining these three modalities, he explores how and why certain objects are used in magic, what makes specific objects more desirable in magic than others, and why an object-focused analysis of the will of things may offer anthropologists and sorcerers new insights into how and why ritual magic works as both a social and mystical phenomenon. In so doing, he outlines new strategies for understanding ritual magic that re-frames objects as beings that are capable agency and the power to act willfully. In short, he argues that magic is effective – socially and metaphysically – because of ways in which rituals work to vivify the will of those objects used in magic.Here’s a link to my book for those who might be interested in reading more: 

https://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/15866.html

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