Xavier and the Portuguese colonial legacy
in The relic state
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The last chapter explores some of the contours of Goa’s postcolonial imaginary, including the author’s ethnographic encounters with Xavier both in the archive and the field, the extraordinary and the everyday. Some of the conceptual investments of this historical anthropology project are then underscored: to "translate" saint veneration to a colonial context; explore the spiritual and the material aspects of colonialization and missionization; look at the production of a triad of church, state, and public at six different historical moments through the lens of ritual; view the space of ritual as a practical and discursive field that actively produces the "local"; analyze ritual as an ethnographic event located in historical time, and as a site of continuity and change; explore the interim of ritual as a site for the negotiation of different epistemologies of "faith"; document the physical decay of a corpse over four hundred years; and finally, tell the remarkable biography of a (colonial) state through the biography of a saint in life and death.

The relic state

St Francis Xavier and the politics of ritual in Portuguese India


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