In: KulturPoetik 2002, Heft 2


Stefan Bub


Die Begegnung mit dem Numinosen im fremden Ritus.
Zu einem ethnologischen Motiv am Beispiel von Michel Leiris, Hubert Fichte und anderen




One of the favourite subjects of authors interested in ethnology are foreign rites and thus also the experience of what Rudolf Otto called the ›numinous‹. This article deals with various aspects of this encounter especially in African and Afro-American cults. Whereas Michel Leiris (1901-1990) in LAfrique fantôme expresses his fascination and his desire to participate, Hubert Fichte’s (1935-1986) ethnological studies reveal the reasons why enthusiastic expectations are bound to fail: Very often the description of foreign rites contains images of desolation and death and the observer discovers familiar structures in what at first appeared to be completely ›alien‹.