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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 3.131

East Indians, Dutch spirits and territorial sovereignty in coastal Guyana.


  • Dr. Marcelo Moura MELLO

Primary authors


The ethnographical material analysed in this paper explores political and territorial sovereignty through the lens of lived and embodied practices of co-habitation between East Indians and other-than-human powers. On the coast of Guyana, spirits of the Dutch, the first colonizers of the country, claim ownership over the land, especially on (former) sites of sugar plantations. In this paper, I focus not simply on living with nonhuman forces, but specifically, on the processes of how people learn to live with them. Through rituals, local Hindus seek to placate these spirits through the incorporation of the powers of Hindu deities in domestic spaces. These rites to Dutch spirits are defined by the traces and marks of the embodied and placed colonial past.