Ancestral Encounters in Highland Madagascar: Material Signs by Zoë Crossland

By Zoë Crossland

Nineteenth-century highland Madagascar used to be a spot inhabited by way of the lifeless up to the dwelling. Ghosts, ancestors, and the possessed have been very important historic actors along neighborhood kings and queens, infantrymen, investors, and missionaries. This e-book considers the demanding situations that such actors pose for ancient debts of the earlier and for puzzling over questions of presence and illustration. How have been the useless made current, and the way have been they well-known or now not? In getting to those multifarious encounters of the 19th century, how may well we contemplate the ways that our personal history-writing makes the lifeless current? To take on those questions, Zoë Crossland tells an anthropological historical past of highland Madagascar from a standpoint rooted in archaeology and Peircean semiotics, in addition to in panorama research, oral historical past, and textual resources.

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I suggest that the blaze at the Rova and other similarly troubling fires provide an ambiguous site of ancestral agency. Fires such as these offer a route to explore how political challenges can be articulated in a world of tradition that is oriented toward maintaining continuity with the past. The choice to burn the Rova was incendiary in every sense. org/core. org/core/terms. 003 32 Ancestral Encounters in Highland Madagascar 1. The remains of the Queen’s Palace, or Manjakamiadana, and the palace church.

Within the highland region of Imerina, the Rova, and especially the monumental Queen’s Palace at its heart, often stands in synecdochic relation to the nation. Whether found in mundane contexts such as on tourist souvenirs and the sachets of sugar in Antananarivo cafes, or on statesanctioned stamps and banknotes, it elicits the idea of Antananarivo, and the history of the unified nation-state (Figure 2). org/core. org/core/terms. 003 2. org/core. Rova, including the Queen’s PalaceUniversity and Tranovola onona 31 1908 Downloaded from Columbia Libraries, Dec stamp.

These struggles become visible in the stories I tell here about the incorporation of British missionaries into structures of authority and power in the center of Imerina or in the description of inscribed standing stones in the market town of Betafo and the particular histories they narrate. The history of the kingdom is itself an ongoing semeiotic process, both tangible and intangible, that remains embedded in the land, in time, and in present-day living conditions. org/core. org/core/terms. org/core.

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