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Fokus INDIA: Oslo Morgenstierne Lectures

April 9, 2013 - 16:15-April 11, 2013 - 18:00


These public lectures, by Elisabeth Schömbucher-Kusterer, address topics related to India’s past and present, politics, religions and cultures.

April 9: “Gods, Ghosts and Demons. Possession and Trance in India and Europe”
Abstract: Performances of possession have fascinated scholars by their very intensity. An overview of the literature on the topic shows that the possessed person, often a woman, is the paradigmatic ‘exotic other’. How has possession in India been interpreted in anthropological research? The lecture will give an overview on the different forms of possession in India and the various interpretive approaches in anthropology. It is argued that the medical paradigm which is so popular in explaining possession states has its roots in European discourse. Two examples of famous possessed women in European history will show how the religious discourse has eventually been replaced by a medical discourse.

April 10: “Spirit Possession, Exorcism and other Forms of Therapy”
Abstract: When we speak about possession, usually two forms are distinguished: unwanted and uncontrolled possession by harmful spirits (spirit possession) and ritually induced and controlled states of possession by deities and ancestors (spirit mediumship). In this lecture I will concentrate on spirit possession. Who is afflicted, how do people cope with it and why can exorcism be an effective therapy? With different video clips I will show how modern medicine tries to cooperate with indigenous healing systems.

April 11: “Possession Mediumship and its Ritual Discourse”
Abstract: Possession mediumship is, among other things, a verbal event. Among the Vadabalija, a South Indian group of fishermen, a deity speaks to her devotees through a female medium who acts as a temporary vessel for the deity. In this lecture I will answer the following questions: What exactly is said by the deity/medium, and in which way? What do the listeners hear? How are the words, spoken in trance, invested with divine authority and power, and what makes them effective?

All lectures will be held at room 11, P.A. Munchs hus, University of Oslo. 

Please note also the upcoming events in the Fokus INDIA : Oslo Morgenstierne Lecture Series

Cezary Galewicz (Institute of Oriental Studies, Jagiellonian University, Cracow) will give the following lectures:

April 22: “Kingdoms of Memory, Empires of Ink: the Vedic ars memorativa, manuscript and print cultures in the making of Hinduism” (room 12,  P.A. Munchs hus, 16.15–18.00)
April 24: “Ghost Books and Twisted Identities of Textual Communities: towards an ecology of cast and religion” (room 12, P.A. Munchs hus, 16.15–18.00)
April 25: „Anyōnyam: Recitation of Sacred Texts in Kerala” (Film with lecture) (room 11, P.A. Munchs hus, 16.15–18.00)

Fokus INDIA: Oslo Morgenstierne Lectures


April 9, 2013 - 16:15
April 11, 2013 - 18:00