Marcela Perdomo

  • Visiting Lecturer


Anthropology of Religion, Ritual, Trance and Possession, Afro-Atlantic Traditions, Material Religion, Embodiment, Ethnographic Reflexivity, Religion and Race


Member of the Laboratoire d’Anthropologie Sociale- LAS (EHESS/CNRS/Collège de France)

Member of the American Anthropological Association

Member of ASWAD (Association for the Studies of the Worldwide African Diaspora)

Selected Talks

“Repairing the Past through Spirit Possession Among the Garifuna of Honduras”. Africana Sacred Healing Arts. Yale Institute of Sacred Music, Yale University, New Haven, May 16-18, 2022.

Research Interests and Current Projects

My research explores the anthropology of religious transmission of spiritual possession among the Garifuna, an Afroamerindian community of the Central American Caribbean. I explore the link between spirit possession, subjective experience, collective trauma, religion, healing, and ethnic pride among local mediums and traditional healers who incarnate the spirit of the ancestors. By focusing on recurring patterns of possession and religious initiation, my research explores how a group’s historical memory may be heavily embodied by individuals. Moreover, my study focuses on the transformation of possession-illness into possession-healing through mediumistic ritual apprenticeship. In this way, I concentrate on the embodied processes that take place during the ritual learning of possession in order to obtain spiritual knowledge. Furthermore, I explore the forms of efficacy engendered by symbolic healing and ritual gesture.

Courses Taught

Healing, Shamanism and Spirit Possession

From Vodou to Santeria, Religions of the West African Diaspora

Religion and Race

Religions of the West


Education & Training

  • PhD, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris, 2019

Representative Publications


“Somatizing the Past: Healing the Dead Through Spirit Possession in the Garifuna Dugu from Honduras.” Journal of Africana Religions, 2022, Vol.10 N.1

“Me Possessed? Interpreting Spirit Possession through Ethnographic Reflexivity. An Afro- Honduran Case Studies” AM Rivista della Società Italiana di Antropologia Medica, 2022 (52).


Healing the Dead. Memory and Spirit Possession in the Garifuna Dugu of Honduras. (in process)

Research Grants

Grant for fieldwork conduction, Laboratoire d’Anthropologie Sociale (LAS) (2011) and the CNRS (Centre National de Recherche Scientifique) and EHESS, Paris (2009)