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Senior Research Seminar: Dr Luke Heslop (London School of Economics)

When May 24, 2019
from 04:15 PM to 06:00 PM
Where Edmund Leach Room, Department of Social Anthropology Free School Lane, Cambridge
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Dr Luke Heslop (London School of Economics)

Putting the house in order: Notes on managing men and exorcising ghosts in Sri Lanka

“When sorrows come, they come not single spies. But in battalions!”
(Hamlet act 4, scene 5)
The ethnographic material I present in this paper is oriented around solving problems within the homes of middle-class merchants in central Sri Lanka. The problems explored play out in two registers. The first deals with the intimate social relations within the house, while the second deals with a situation in which the house itself becomes the site of disorder and vulnerability. Bringing fractious relationships between men into conversation with an established literature on spirit possession in South Asia, the paper presents new ways to think through the role of houses and healing rites in domestic conflict resolution.

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