6. Toward an Understanding of Anlo Forms of Being-in-the-World
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chapter 6 Toward an Understanding of Anlo Forms of Beingin -the-World In this chapter I concentrate even more intensely on aspects of the world that are thematized in Anlo contexts, beginning with perceptions of their homeland, their migration story, and the NlO of their appellation but then turning to issues of morality and personhood.1 I explore the themes and motifs consistently presented to me as dimensions of Anlo core culture (categorized in anthropological terms as emic) in terms of the etic issue of the dovetailing of the senses, culture, and identity. Thematized aspects of Anlo personhood are probed for what they reveal about sensory, emotional , somatic modes of attention and processes of the self. Just as part 2 did not purport to contain a comprehensive account of child-socialization practices in Anlo worlds, part 3 is not meant to be an exhaustive account of the topic of personhood and the self. Rather, it is an analysis involving my third working proposition: that the local sensory order affects the concept and experience of being a person in the world. We have seen how a local theory of immediate bodily experience, summed up by the term seselelame, highlights or culturally elaborates interoceptive as well as exteroceptive sensory fields. To really grasp the meaning of personhood and self processes in Anlo contexts one must appreciate the emphasis placed on interoception or internal sensory modes. Anlo sensibilities and Anlo forms of being-in-the-world involve a cultivation , I would argue, of interoceptive modes. 111 past and present, body and land Some time in the late 1980s, several years before I first traveled to Ghana, an Anlo-Ewe friend of mine named Kwame related two pieces of what he considered vital information about his people. The first item concerned his ancestors’ escape from slavery, three hundred years ago, and how they came to inhabit what is now the southeastern corner of the Volta Region in Ghana. Late colonial and postcolonial times constituted the setting for the second item. By this time, Kwame’s account detailed, his people were no longer slaves, but rather they made up a prominent and vocal political force in contemporary Ghanaian society.2 Linkages between the two parts of his account are at once rooted in the land (the terrain and soil often referred to as an Anlo homeland) and in the body (the ways in which their name, Anlo, has its origins in a body posture we refer to in Euro-American contexts as “the fetal position”). “As place is sensed, senses are placed; as places make sense, senses make place.” Steven Feld calls this assertion of his a “doubly reciprocal motion” (1996:91), and Edward S. Casey invokes Feld’s phrase to make the point that we are simultaneously “never without perception” and “never without emplaced experiences” (1996:19). Kwame described the place that he grew up as poor. By poor he did not mean culturally deprived , because he often spontaneously danced Agbadza and maintained that American jazz and other Western art forms derived from the music and inspirations of his very people.3 But by poor he meant that the sandy soil on the coast of southeastern Ghana consistently failed to produce more than “small-small garden eggs” (eggplants), bitter oranges, dry tomatoes, “hard-time corn,” and so forth. His perceptions of Anlo-land as poor seemed to be shaped by two other significant factors. First, he contrasted his Anlo homeland with the land held by the more famous ethnic group of Ghana, the Asante, which readily yielded the lucrative products of cocoa, timber, and gold. Second, Kwame lamented the point in the 1960s when his hometown of Keta was overlooked in favor of Tema as the site of postcolonial Ghana’s national port. In his youth Keta thrived as a port town: the docking of European ships provided Keta with a continual flow (in and out) of cloth, beads, vegetables, spices, and so forth. His mother was a bead trader and his father served as a manager in the United Africa Company. The bustling atmosphere of business and trade in Keta that Kwame remembered from childhood came to an end when Tema, a town closer to the capital city Accra, was designated the national port. From then on Keta was neglected, and as sea erosion 112 Anlo Forms of Being-in-the-World increased and the nation failed to erect a barrier wall, miles and miles of Keta and other parts of the...


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