Anders Norge Lauridsen

Affiliated to Education

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

About Anders Norge Lauridsen

  • PhD student in Social Anthropology, University of Gothenburg, 2017-
  • JSPS Fellow, University of Tokyo, February-March 2024
  • 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

  • "Ambalavelona: Notorious Bewitchment in Madagascar", SANT 2024: The annual conference of the Swedish Anthropological Association, Uppsala University, April 24, 2024
  • "Anthropology of Madagascar", seminar at the University of Tokyo, February 27, 2024
  • "Ambalavelona - Rumours of Madness, Hysteria, and Possession in Madagascar", AAA/CASCA Annual Meeting, Toronto, November 16, 2023
  • "Sihanaka Slavers and the Export of Slaves from the Ports North-western Madagascar", First Conference of the IOWC Network for Slavery, Bondage, and the Environment in the Indian Ocean World, McGill University in Montreal/Online, May 24, 2023
  • "Cosmic Power in Madagascar", SANT 2023: The annual conference of the Swedish Anthropological Association, the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm, April 29, 2023
  • "Malagassiske Ånder og en Død Fremmedkonge", Center for Samtidsreligion, Aarhus University, March 23, 2021
  • "The Narrative Experiment: An Experimental Approach to Malagasy Spirits", Mayday - Experiments and Experimentality in Anthropology and Interdisciplinary Studies, May 15-16, 2018, Lomonosov Moscow State University

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