Truth in motion: The recursive anthropology of Cuban divination, Martin Holbraad, U Chicago Press, 2012Cultural production, new book, Religion No Comments »
Joining a growing collection of anthropological work on Cuban religious practice, Martin Holbraad’s Truth in Motion: The Recursive Anthropology of Cuban Divination, U Chicago Press 2012, has just been released. More than simply presenting ethnographic data, Holbraad sets out to use his ethnographic insights to rethink disciplinary presumptions of anthropology as well.
Embarking on an ethnographic journey to the inner barrios of Havana among practitioners of Ifá, a prestigious Afro-Cuban tradition of divination, Truth in Motion reevaluates Western ideas about truth in light of the practices and ideas of a wildly different, and highly respected, model. Acutely focusing on Ifá, Martin Holbraad takes the reader inside consultations, initiations, and lively public debates to show how Ifá practitioners see truth as something to be not so much represented, as transformed. Bringing his findings to bear on the discipline of anthropology itself, he recasts the very idea of truth as a matter not only of epistemological divergence but also of ontological difference—the question of truth, he argues, is not simply about how things may appear differently to people, but also about the different ways of imagining what those things are. By delving so deeply into Ifá practices, Truth in Motion offers cogent new ways of thinking about otherness and how anthropology can navigate it.