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14 Sep 2012
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£60.00
|Hardback In Stock
  
9781137027498
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DescriptionReviewsContentsAuthors

This historical ethnography of Central Sudan explores the century-old intertwining of zar, spirit possession, with lives of ex-slaves. Despite very different social and cultural contexts, it has continued to be shaped by the experience of slavery. As the treatment of last resort, zar addresses a wide range of problems brought predominantly by women through participation in colorful and often opaque ritual events. Drawing on field research spanning three decades and laced with participants' own narratives, Kenyon shows how zar continues to embody subaltern memories of Ottoman Egypt, which shape and support the structure of contemporary beliefs and practices. At the same time, it is the effective articulation of these memories, with the impact of global capitalism and shifting Islamic realities (both political Islam and Sufism), that accounts for zar's ongoing popularity.


Description

This historical ethnography of Central Sudan explores the century-old intertwining of zar, spirit possession, with lives of ex-slaves. Despite very different social and cultural contexts, it has continued to be shaped by the experience of slavery. As the treatment of last resort, zar addresses a wide range of problems brought predominantly by women through participation in colorful and often opaque ritual events. Drawing on field research spanning three decades and laced with participants' own narratives, Kenyon shows how zar continues to embody subaltern memories of Ottoman Egypt, which shape and support the structure of contemporary beliefs and practices. At the same time, it is the effective articulation of these memories, with the impact of global capitalism and shifting Islamic realities (both political Islam and Sufism), that accounts for zar's ongoing popularity.


Reviews

"Although Zar is a well-documented cultural movement, this treatment is particularly rich in ethnographic detail and local voices . . . the book is an important addition to that specialized literature. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students/faculty." - CHOICE


Contents

PART I: BACKGROUND
Remembering Spirits and Sufis in Central Sudan
PART II: THE HOUSE OF ZAINAB
The Ottoman Ranks
Colonialism and Colonization
Independence, Islamism, and Modernity
PART III: THE HOUSE OF SPIRITS
The World of Red Spirits
Nations of Spirits
Serving the Spirits
PART IV: DEALING WITH POWER
Bargaining with Power
Spirits at Play
Sacrifice
PART V: NOT A MOMENT TO LOSE
Slavery Remembered: Lessons from the Zar


Authors

SUSAN M. KENYON is a Professor Emerita of Anthropology at Butler University, USA. In addition to her long-term interests in Sudan, she has carried out research in British Columbia, Indonesia, and Costa Rica. She is the author of The Kyuquot Way: A Study of a West Coast (Nootkan) Village (1981) and Five Women of Sennar: Culture and Change in Central Sudan (1991, 2004).