Truth in Motion: The Recursive Anthropology of Cuban Divination

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Embarking on an ethnographic journey to the inner barrios of Havana among practitioners of Ifa, a prestigious Afro-Cuban tradition of divination, Truth in Motion reevaluates Western ideas about truth in light of the practices and ideas of a wildly different, and highly respected, model. Acutely focusing on Ifa, Martin Holbraad takes the reader inside consultations, initiations, and lively public debates to show how Ifa practitioners see truth as something not so much to be represented, but transformed. Central to this position is Holbraad's description of Ifa truth as a motile event that is forged in the ritual of divination, rather than a static state simply needing to be unveiled. Ifa truth, Holbraad shows, is to be conceived as something that moves, literally, and is transformed when different trajectories of meaning are made to collide. Going further, he brings this ethnographic analysis to bear on the discipline of anthropology itself, recasting conflicts of truth and the problem of otherness in anthropological inquiry as rooted not in epistemological differences but ontological ones - truth, he argues, does not simply appear in different forms but exists in them.