Departmental Seminar

Reincarnation in Africa

Asia/Hong_KongReincarnation in Africa
    Asia/Hong_KongReincarnation in Africa


      Reincarnation in Africa


      Professor A F Robertson (Honorary Professorial Fellow, School of Social and Political Science, Edinburgh University; Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, University of California at Santa Barbara)


      November 26, 2014


      4:00 pm


      Room 201, 2/F, May Hall, The University of Hong Kong (Map)




      (Tel) (852) 3917-5901


      According to Wikipedia, “Reincarnation is the religious or philosophical concept that the soul or spirit, after biological death, begins a new life in a new body. This doctrine is a central tenet of the Indian religions”. To what extent have such dualist assumptions, endemic in our own western epistemology, prejudiced our interpretation of eschatologies elsewhere in the world? African cases of rebirth suggest more unitary, emergent understandings of the transfer of a personal identity, which may shed light on the better-known instances of reincarnation in Asia. The assertion that Lukoho, a Ugandan lad, is his grandfather implicates not only them but the broader web of intergenerational relationships in which they are both enmeshed.

      About the Speaker

      Before joining the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1985 as Professor of Anthropology, Sandy Robertson taught Development Sociology and directed the African Studies Centre at Cambridge University. His writing on the broader political, economic and historical implications of family life draws on extensive research in Africa, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the US. His recent books include Greed: Gut Feelings, Growth, and History (2001; Chinese edition: Century Publishing, Shanghai, 2004); a study of the mainly older women who collect Life Like Dolls (2004); and Mieres Reborn: The Reinvention of a Catalan Community (2012). He is currently an Honorary Professor of Social Anthropology at his alma mater, Edinburgh University.