Passing things on: Ancestors and Genealogies in Northeast India

Published: 2014
Author: edited by Michael Heneise, with Iliyana Angelova, Subhadra Mitra Channa, Mark Elliott, Edward Moon-Little, Meripeni Ngully, Iris Odyuo and Dharamsing Teron
Publisher: Heritage Publishing House, Dimapur, India

In this volume we gather local and international scholars engaging the ‘field’ and the ‘archive’ to interrogate objects and a few of anthropology’s own ancestors. In this way, fresh insights are gained that enrich our understanding of colonial history, the motivations of its many actors, and what it means for ethnographic collections, contemporary expressions and communities of origin. Invariably, through this exercise we too become entangled in the genealogies of objects, of subjects and of their mediators. As museums in Europe and the United Kingdom open up their collections and seek more meaningful forms of exchange – indeed exploring avenues for the ‘return of culture’ - the theories found throughout this volume can elucidate these new encounters. This is an important intellectual exercise as certainly unearthing the ghosts of colonialism will yield new responses, and their effects may extend beyond the control of ancestors, of genealogies and anthropological theories. Just as the Maori sagas defined tupana as an ancestor having legendary significance for current life, we hope this volume might encourage new theoretical and empirical avenues that draw on the subject of ancestors and genealogies in the emerging highlands of South and Southeast Asia.

*For more information or to purchase a copy please contact heneise@gmail.com or Heritage Publishing House, Dimapur, Nagaland.