Anders Norge Lauridsen

Doctoral Student

School of Global
Visiting address
Konstepidemins väg 2
41314 Göteborg
Room number
Postal address
Box 700
40530 Göteborg

About Anders Norge Lauridsen

  • PhD student in Social Anthropology, University of Gothenburg, 2017-
  • Visiting PhD student, Aarhus University, 2018
  • MSc in Anthropology, Aarhus University, 2014-2016
  • BA in History of Ideas and Anthropology, Aarhus University and Université Libre de Bruxelles, 2010-2014

PhD Project: The Living Papyrus - Immanentist Cosmology in Madagascar

This project is an anthropological study of immanentist cosmology among the Sihanaka of Madagascar. The Sihanaka people inhabit the fertile Alaotra valley, a wetland environmental of marshes and rice fields surrounding the great lake Alaotra. All aspects of society from riziculture and fishing to the health and wealth of people are held to depend on the favours of ancestors, ghosts, spirits and gods – entities which are oftentimes faultily characterised as “supernatural” or “transcendent”. However, as I intend to show with the aid of novel theory of religion, these entities occupy the same cosmos as humans, they are ‘immanent’ rather than of some ‘otherworld’. The Sihanaka refer to this motley host of entities as zanahary, which I find to be strikingly parallel to the analytical category metahuman coined by Sahlins. Contributing to the burgeoning literature on immanentist cosmologies, this thesis follows the flow of hasina (metahuman power) throughout the Sihanaka cosmos. Hasina emanates from high gods to lesser deities who do not inhabit other ‘worlds’, but remote, inaccessible parts of the cosmos such as the skies, the lakes, a necropolis and an invisible village – all of which constitute distinct ‘realms’ for types of metahumans. The thesis explores how hasina is appropriated and canalised in rituals by extraordinary people: miracle-making mpanazary, prophesising mpanintana and fully possessed mpihanjaka. Moreover, it analyses the primary means of communication and interaction between ordinary humans and metahumans, that is, tsanganan-draha (possession), tsindrimandry (visions), fady (taboos) and joro (rites). Methodologically, it is based on ethnographic fieldwork since 2015 as well as experimental methods, collaborative historiography and archival research.

Supervised by: Jörgen Hellman (University of Gothenburg), Anders Burman (University of Gothenburg), and Andreas Roepstorff (Aarhus University)

Research Interests

Thematic: cosmology, spirits, doubt, uncertainty, rituals, tradition, agency, empirical philosophy, ontology, epistemology, ethnicity, cultural translation, experimental anthropology

Regional: Madagascar, the Indian Ocean, the Austronesian world

Fieldwork Experience

  • Anororo, Madagascar (four months in 2015, two months in 2016, two months in 2017, two weeks in 2018, six weeks in 2019, six weeks in 2022)

Teaching Experience

  • Lectures and seminars in the courses “Anthropological Theory”, “The Global Politics of Heritage”, and “Global Studies: Key Concepts”, University of Gothenburg, 2019-2020
  • "Qualitative Methods", BA Minor in Sociology, Aarhus University, April 3-13, 2018
  • "Ethnographic Methodology and Field Preparation", MA in Anthropology, Aarhus University, Guest Lecture on Experimental Approaches, March 5, 2018

Conference and Seminar Presentations

Other Anthropological Projects

  • Ethnographic objects collected for Moesgaard Museum in Aarhus: two mohara amulets, a lambahoany cloth, a fototra tomb pole and a complete spirit medium garb
  • Visualising Anthropological Imaginations: An experiment in which illustrators turn anthropological concepts into works of art. Link to the VAI experiment