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‘AN INCOMPREHENSIBLE MIRACLE’

Central African clerical intellectualism versus African historic religion: A close reading of Valentin Mudimbe’s Tales of Faith (full version)

Part 3b. Mudimbe's homelessness: plurality of African cultures; death; métissité

Wim van Binsbergen

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Proceed to:

Part 0. Introduction and links to other parts
Part
1.
Mudimbe's method
Part 2.
Clerical intellectualism in Central Africa
Part
3a.
Mudimbe's homelessness: No African home, Afrocentrism, death
Part 4. Historic African religion
Part
5.
Conclusion: Mudimbe's and van Binsbergen's itineraries compared

An excursion into the plurality of African cultures

In the preceding quotation, what could Mudimbe’s expressions ‘my sense of belonging to a group’ and ‘my culture’ possibly mean coming from a person whose life’s itinerary has been the celebration of homelessness? And why should he join in the now obsolescent reification of culture?

                        We are facing the paradox that Mudimbe in his method of philosophy and intellectual history, and in the face of many African intellectuals’ affirmations of the local, retreats to the implied (if qualified)[1] universalism of the current North Atlantic dominant academic discourse, yet affirms the sui generis plurality of African cultures as an empirically demonstrated fact and as one of the achievements of the paradigmatic shift occurring in anthropology with the transition from pre-classic (diffusionism, evolutionism, organicism) to classic (structural-functionalist) versions of that discipline in the middle of the twentieth century:

‘Concrete examples of methodological procedures that managed to recognize the proper historic and cultural specificities of each human group were studies in anthropology of African religions published or signed by M. Fortes (1959, 1965), John Middleton (1960), Marcel Griaule (1948) and Luc de Heusch. [ sic ] (1958, 1971, 1972).[2] They taught us that an account of, and attention to, each group’s cultural arbitrariness and specific history enabled us to understand that the less visible aspect of cultural transformations might perhaps be the most important from a historical perspective.’ [3]

There is room for amazement here. Few African scholars today, and a diminishing number of non-African Africanists, could be tempted to sing the praises of these works which, although great achievements in their time, are now unmistakably dated. These books rely on structural-functionalist and structuralist models which have since been severely criticised, precisely because — exactly opposite to what Mudimbe suggests — they are inherently a-historical. They depict these distinct ‘cultures’ as timeless givens waiting to be intellectually appropriated in the present through the presentist anthropological technique participant observation — with the sole exception of de Heusch’s work, whose attempt to reconstruct the conjectural ‘archaeology of Bantu thought’ has since been dismissed by the Nestor of African history, Vansina, for being merely elegant (i.e. system-driven, structuralist) instead of genuinely historical.[4] Moreover these famous anthropological works reflect the ‘divide and rule’ fragmentation of the African socio-cultural-political space which is a direct product of colonial conquest and colonial administration. They reinforce the image of Africa as a patchwork quilt of bounded, self-contained, mutually unrelated and internally highly integrated and structured distinct ‘cultures’, each to be neatly identified by its ethnic name. In other words, they perpetuate the Colonial Library and its epistemological and methodological shortcomings, which Mudimbe himself has greatly helped us to spot but, with his usual mildness of judgement, adamantly refusing to throw away the child with the bath-water: however defective and distorting, the Colonial Library is for him also the basis of valid African scholarship by Africans.[5]

                        The distinctiveness of African cultures is almost a dogma of cosmopolitan African philosophy, which thus denies what Afrocentrist scholars, and their European allies and predecessors have insisted on: the considerable historical cultural unity of Africa, certainly on a regional level comprising entire sets of previously distinguished ‘ethnic cultures’, and in certain respects perhaps even on a continental scale.[6] Mudimbe is not alone in his affirmation of African cultural fragmentation. It is remarkable that outside Afrocentrist circles, the argument of convergence has met with so little acceptance among African philosophers today. Instead they virtually unanimously support the argument of cultural diversity. In Appiah’s words:

‘If we could have traveled through Africa’s many cultures in (...) [precolonial times] from the small groups of Bushman hunter-gatherers, with their stone-age materials, to the Hausa kingdoms, rich in worked metal – we should have felt in every place profoundly different impulses, ideas, and forms of life. To speak of an African identity in the nineteenth century – if an identity is a coalescence of mutually responsive (if sometimes conflicting) modes of conduct, habits of thought, and patterns of evaluation; in short, a coherent kind of human social psychology – would have been ‘‘to give to aery nothing a local habitation and a name.’’ ’[7]

In line with this stress on precolonial fragmentation lies the African philosopher’s Kaphagawani’s thesis on ‘C4’, which is a scientistic formula meant to express

‘the Contemporary Confluence of Cultures on the Continent of Africa. This is a postcolonial phenomenon where different cultures meet and mingle to form new, hybrid forms’.[8]

In this formulation the emphasis on a plurality of mutually distinct and bounded cultures does give way to a recognition of greater unity, but extreme multiplicity and fragmentation is still held to be the hallmark of the African past, the point of departure. Such unity between African cultures as is being recognised is taken to be the result of the postcolonial phenomenon of globalisation, which allows this view to salvage the concept of a pristine distinctness of a great number of precolonial cultures in Africa.

                        The dilemma between a universalising method and a fragmenting description, which Mudimbe is facing here, is not a sign of reproachable weakness on his part, but appears as an inevitable consequence of academic knowledge production through written texts. He knows exactly what the dilemma is, as is clear from the following passage, yet in order to produce a meaningful text he chooses one side of the contradiction, and leaves the other side for others to articulate:

‘In the 1950s, the structuralist wave in anthropology attempted, in terms of a critique that it strived to establish in relation to the West, to be the sign of a respectful gaze on difference and, in this capacity, maintained that it studied societies that were or are different — both for themselves and in themselves. Yet, there again, the fundamental problem remains, namely, in this process, the relationship of Western culture to other cultures. As Anouar Abdel Malek says, one can affirm methodologically that the century-old refinement of the means of analysing still does not change the very nature of the analysis undertaken. In our day, just as in the Age of Enlightenment, such an analysis falls under the jurisdiction of the will to universalism, under the assumption that all social phenomena are immediately reducible to a single grid.’[9]

‘to put it in a provocative manner, any Africa researcher should at least pause momentarily on the following small points in order to ponder his or her scientific or religious practice. The West created the ‘pagan’ in order to ‘Christianize’, ‘underdevelopment’ in order to ‘develop’, the ‘primitive’ in order to engage in ‘anthropology’ and ‘civilize’. These banalities overlay crushing models that must either be accepted or re-evaluated.’[10]

Death again

After this excursion into the contemporary concept of culture, let us return to a more ultimate concern: death.

                        On the one hand Mudimbe affirms, against the tide of the Africanist anthropology of the turn of the twenty-first century CE, the irreducible plurality of African cultures (the same plurality around which the Colonial Library was built and ordered). Mudimbe’s sympathy for the gems of classic anthropology as produced by Fortes, Middleton, Griaule en de Heusch, as discussed above, suggests that he sees them as an anthropological opening up to the liberation of African difference. But as he affirms, a greater liberation still lies in the realization that death (the central undercurrent in his work) is the hallmark of cultural purity (the kind of cultural purity affirmed by the classic anthropological model of ethnic diversity and boundedness), so that the affirmation of cultural métissité is nothing but the only effective strategy of survival:

‘Then, strictly speaking, who is not a métis? How can any culture claim the purity of an absolute and uncontaminated identity, a pure essence, if, by analogically extending the paradox of an impossible stable identity of the I to a We-subject, we accept that a pure culture-island will become a corpse-culture?’[11]

                        Perhaps my expression ‘the affirmation of cultural métissité as the only effective strategy of survival’ applies to Mudimbe’s life in the most literal sense. In the frankly autobiographical Preface to Parables and fables, the idea of writing in the face of death comes back: in the early 1970s,[12] Mudimbe then in his early thirties was diagnosed to be dying of bone cancer, and in anticipatory defiance of such a fate he wrote three books in five months: Entretailles (poetry, published 1973, and dedicated to the memory of his French informally adopted brother who was also his student, and who died in a motor accident together with his intended bride), Le Bel immonde (a novel, published 1976, featuring Central African politics), and L’Autre face du royaume, his first attempt ‘to interrogate the paradoxes of the social and human sciences (..) specifically (...) anthropology’.[13] In these three books the total of Mudimbe’s struggle is contained: the Africa he leaves behind him, Europe which is a vehicle in his intellectual and existential reorientation, and placeless universal science which is to become his airy home. The diagnosis of bone cancer proved wrong, and Mudimbe lived on and became a famous cosmopolitan post-African scholar. Below I will suggest how it is possible to interpret this episode of death-fearing creativity along North Atlantic models, as an escape from another, genuine death: that of African historic culture and religion inside him.

Métissité

The reader of Tales of faith, who has increasingly wondered how the author himself would identify, given his geographical, cultural and academic disciplinary homelessness, only gradually begins to realise that Mudimbe, too, identifies as of ‘mixed cultural descent’, until he declares so explicitly at the end of the book:

‘The identity of any individual or human community actualizes itself as a process through three main ektases:[14] temporalization, or a subjective procedure whereby an individual or a collective consciousness negotiates the norms for its duration as being, as well as those of things in the world; reflection, or the incredible assumption of a reflecting consciousness present in, and separated from, a consciousness reflected on; finally, the last ektasis, being-for-others, during which the self conflictually apprehends itself outside of itself as an object for others. These experiences of a consciousness, standing out of itself in order to grasp and comprehend its always fluctuating identity, show well the impossibility of reducing anyone, any human culture, to an immobile essence. More importantly, living, acting and believing in a world in which there is always a history — and there are already other people preceding me — whatever I do, as Sartre would have said, I accomplish it in relation to others. I mean precisely that any action is always a consequence of my original sin, my upsurge in a world where I am not alone: métis, because of my very identity, which can only be a continuous project towards a transcendence; métis, also, by being there and evolving in a space — simultaneously real and constructed — already circumscribed and colonized by others' history, even when these predecessors or contemporaries of mine are my people. Finally, I am a métis in the very consciousness of conceiving and apprehending my freedom as both lack and need actualizing itself simultaneously as a negative and positive praxis that is, a negative, purposeful activity because it signifies in what it is the negation of a given; positive, since it is an opening in what is coming. [ follows a quote from Sartre] [15]

              Then, strictly speaking, who is not a métis? How can any culture claim the purity of an absolute and uncontaminated identity, a pure essence, if, by analogically extending the paradox of an impossible stable identity of the I to a We-subject, we accept that a pure culture-island will become a corpse-culture?’[16]

Here the reader’s hunch which has built up throughout the book is finally confirmed: Tales of faith is an unusual narrative, and not a detached exercise in the history of ideas, not even a philosophical treatise. It is primarily an attempt to articulate in text a personal autobiographical itinerary, and to assess the end station of métissité to which it has taken its author. Who am I to question the success of his efforts, and the credibility of his claims? Let us listen once more to Mudimbe’s characterisation of Tales of faith:

‘Tales of Faith is about the strange constructed place I chose in inhabit so that I could think about the unthinkable: how well the predicament of Sartre’s pessimism in ‘Hell is other people’, meets the supreme beauty of ‘I am an Other’. The two positions are inseparable in this space, in which identities are always mixtures facing each other as competitive projects aimed as, to use Schlegel’s language, an impossible ars combinatoria — I mean a universal and definitive ‘logical chemistry’.[17]

                        Mudimbe basically writes from a position of homelessness. He spiritually inhabits his métissité rather than Congo or Africa. Perhaps it was no accident that his 1970 Ph.D. thesis was on the semantics of air, not earth, water, or fire: the least committal element, suspended between Heaven and Earth which the Egyptian air-god Shu, their father (one of the first two creatures, whom Atum produced through masturbation) violently separated from their embrace; the Egyptian hieroglyphic sign shows a feather followed by phonetic and semantic determinants.

                        Mudimbe analyzes other people’s Tales, Parables and Fables, Ideas and Inventions, but for his personal needs retreats to the bare and windy rocks of agnosticism. His Africa is that of other people, it does not exist as a tangible reality for himself, but at best constitutes a context for contestation, a laboratory for the politics of the liberation of difference.

                        I find this a courageous position, which does do justice to the efforts of Africa-based or Africa-derived subjects as well as to the efforts of Africanists. One of the most remarkable characteristics of Mudimbe’s recent writing is his earnest wisdom, which never resorts to cheap attacks, never rushes to easy victories, always sees a glimpse of value and redemption in even the most formidable constructions of hegemonic power, including the Colonial Library itself.

                        But having said this, let me add that it is also a tragic position, which (apparently because African can no longer be a home to Mudimbe) in its rejection of all intellectual claims of African localities, risks to dissolve whatever capacity Africa has of offering a home, with all the comforts and spiritual technologies of sociability, reconciliation, diagnosis and healing which a real home entails. The full armour furnished by literary science, psychoanalysis and Western philosophy, the impressive capability of correctly invoking in one passage from Thucydides, Plutarch, Heidegger, Sartre, Freud, Foucault, Lévi-Strauss and Lacan as the very household words they clearly are to him, does not quite dispel the stifling air of emptiness. The construction of self through the liberation of difference, on which Central African clerical intellectualism revolves, is a politics of textual performance, not of substance: asserting difference, not contents, seems to be the game. Ancestral African forms are completely ignored in the process, for at first Christianity, and then agnosticism, have rendered them incredible. Identity is an adventure, not an achievement.

                        The exemplary clerical intellectuals Kagame c.s., who have combined the intellectual articulation of their difference as African intellectuals with a total relinquishing of African historical religion, are for Mudimbe the real prophets[18] of twentieth century Central African religion. By contrast, prophetism as an aspect of historic African religion is omitted from Mudimbe’s narrative, and hardly than an afterthought is spared for the prophets who have manifestly combined a Christian inspiration with a continued reliance on a sizeable selection of historic African religion, such as Simon Kimbangu, Alice Lenshina, the numerous self-styled witchcraft eradicators who, with a selective and often rapidly eroding Christian specifically Watchtower inspiration, flooded the countryside of Central Africa from about 1920 onwards.[19]

                        Let us dwell a bit on the notion of cultural métissité, which (although used by Mudimbe in an English-language book) I propose to translate as ‘the condition of being of cultural mixed descent’. The concept is borrowed, ultimately from the French colonial language of race, and more directly from an important critical reflection upon colonialism and its language, notably Amselle’s seminal discussion of African ethnicity[20] as a recent invention within colonial society. Schilder and I have tried to distance ourselves from the constructivism and presentism associated with Amselle’s view, albeit in terms which probably created misunderstanding and which Amselle declared a caricature of his views.[21] However this may be, the concept of métissité has implications which cast a critical light on Mudimbe’s analysis. In the first place it is a biological metaphor, evoking the necessity of the blind play of genes, as against the freedom, choice, contingency of cultural strategies. Mudimbe’s heroes, the clerical intellectuals, could freely contemplate and reject the idea of parricide on their European clerical superiors and intellectual predecessors while their historic African allegiance had already been killed by others then themselves; this shows that the biological metaphor of blind genetic necessity is misleading. Mudimbe must be aware of this, considering his lucid and state-of-the-art treatment of race as a biologically non-viable political ideology in contemporary science and society.[22]

                        The biological metaphor is also misleading for another reason. In the biological process of genetic mixture, the genotype displays the more or less equitable combination of two sets of identifiable factors (genes, chromosomes), each set making for either of the original two phenotypes involved; depending on how many different genes control the specific traits looks for in the original phenotypes, the features of the resulting mixed phenotype may range somewhere in between both originals, or (if few genes are involved and some of the values these genes take are dominant, other recessive) the mixed phenotype may look rather like one of the two originals. Neither situation obtains in the case of cultural mixed descent as described by Mudimbe. There is no evidence that in in the case of these clerical intellectuals African historic religion and Christianity have somehow achieved an equitable mixture, or that at least deep down, in subconscious layers of their personalities, the African cultural elements linger even though these do not directly manifest themselves in their overt behaviour, in their ‘performance’. What we see is African clerical intellectuals who have been effectively socialised into a North Atlantic and increasingly global culture, yet successfully asserting a difference vis-à-vis their North Atlantic superiors. And this they manage to do, not by publicly articulating intact and authentic chunks of African traditional religion and incorporating these into their public conscious lives (they are not overtly praying to their ancestors, they are not overtly staging puberty rites, they do not engage in human sacrifice in order to propitiate royal ancestors or luck-bringing familiar spirits). Their difference is asserted simply by claiming the right to define themselves as an irreducibly new form of socio-cultural existence, in which the practically wholesale adoption of the global model of clerical intellectualism goes hand in hand with their writing about a small selection of utterly externalised, objectified, distanced and transformed (in other words, virtualised) images of African traditional religion. They may re-invoke. through retrodiction, the African spiritual past provided that they emphatically do not live it anymore, and in that respect their transformative appropriation of that past is both a departure from and a simple extension of the so-called Colonial Library which is central to Mudimbe’s arguments on knowledge production under conditions of military and spiritual conquest in Central Africa. In short, these clerical intellectuals are not of cultural mixed descent, but they are in fact mutations within the global clerical intellectual order — mutation here being defined in the original Hugo de Vries sense of a radical and unsystematic change (in genotype) leading to a radically new and unpredictable manifestation (in phenotype). These clerical intellectuals represent a new cultural form, whose Africanness perhaps consists in the somatic and geographical features of their bearers, and in the geographical provenance of the cultural material they distantly and selectively appropriate and transform in intellectual text products. Their Africanness does scarcely consist in any sort of lived and professed continuity with the African historic religion. What Mudimbe describes in Tales of faith is the emergence of a new local variant of global culture which has become dominant among the religious, educational and political elite of Central Africa, with similar forms elsewhere in Africa and in the Third World in general.

‘The Library is thus not only the absolute shining power in terms of classification of beings and things but the locus in which all knowledge transmutes itself into science. (...) From this perspective, colonial sciences (...) assure both the universality and absolute validity of the Western historical experience, and hence the imperativeness of African conversion to its solidity and logic.’[23]

This is very different, and far more penetrating and convincing, than Horton’s ‘African conversion’ argument which was launched in the early 1970s and greatly influenced the Ranger school of African religious history: the idea that African conversion world religions in the late precolonial period simply fitted in with the widening up of political, social and economic horizons in the African countryside, since only a monotheistic High God was commensurate to those new secular realities. [24] But again, Mudimbe seems to do himself to African historic religion what he exposes as a colonial hegemonic strategy: does he not himself, vis-à-vis African historic religion, assert, like the very Colonial Library he is critiquing in the above quotation, ‘both the universality and absolute validity of the Western historical experience, and hence the imperativeness of African conversion to its solidity and logic’?[25]

                        The point is not that Mudimbe’s understanding of the conversion process is to be faulted. Most illuminatingly he argues this process to consist of a triple negation: of otherness, of the plurality of histories, and of any rationality to be found outside the respectable Judaeo-Greek philosophical canon.[26] He demonstrates how in a nineteenth century North Atlantic thought spell-bound by Hegel, which does not allow for a plurality of histories, Africa does not and cannot exist. The point is that Mudimbe does not seem to realise that his very critique of this conversion process, which produced him and hence has taken on a personal reality from which he can as little detach himself as from his body or from the air (!) he breathes, overdetermines him to take such deconstructive, dismissive views of Africa and of African historic religion as he does take.

‘Consequently, conversion is an imperative, a sine qua non condition for inscribing oneself into a history.’[27]

Of course Mudimbe means this statement as a rendering of the hegemonic preconceptions of missionary Christianity. But that does not take away the fact that, in banning African historic religion from the substance of his argument, denying it rationality, repeatedly dismissing it as incredible as if it can be totally assessed by epistemological criteria, and in glorifying the project of clerical and post-clerical intellectualism from which his own career and mutant identify have sprung, he takes the personal fact and necessity of such conversion for granted.

 

Proceed to:

Part 0. Introduction and links to other parts
Part
1.
Mudimbe's method
Part 2.
Clerical intellectualism in Central Africa
Part
3a.
Mudimbe's homelessness: No African home, Afrocentrism, death
Part 4. Historic African religion
Part
5.
Conclusion: Mudimbe's and van Binsbergen's itineraries compared



[1]              Cf. Mudimbe’s discussion of Sandra Harding’s work, as referred to above.

[2]              Fortes, M., 1959, Oedipus and Job in West African Religion, Cambridge University Press; Fortes, M. & G. Dieterlen, 1965, eds, African Systems of Thought, Oxford University Press for International African Institute; Middleton, J., 1960, Lugbara religion: Ritual and authority among an East African people, London: Oxford University Press for International African Institute; Griaule, M., 1966, Dieu d’Eau: Entretiens avec Ogotomêlli. Paris: Fayart, first published 1948; Engl. tr. Conversations with Ogotemmêli: An introduction to Dogon religious ideas, London: Oxford University Press; de Heusch, L., 1958, Essais sur le symbolisme de l’inceste royal en Afrique, Brussels: Université libre de Bruxelles, Institut de Sociologie Solvay; de Heusch, L., 1971, Pourquoi l’épouser? et autre essais, Paris: Gallimard; de Heusch, L., 1972, Le roi ivre ou l'origine de l'Etat, Paris: Gallimard.

[3]              Tales, p. 161.

[4]              Vansina, J., 1983, ‘Is elegance proof? Structuralism and African history’, History in Africa, 10: 307-348; cf. van Binsbergen, W.M.J., 1992, Tears of Rain: Ethnicity and history in central western Zambia, London/Boston: Kegan Paul International, pp. 239ff.

[5]              Tales, p. 180.

[6]              van Binsbergen, W.M.J., 1999, ‘Culturen bestaan niet’: Het onderzoek van interculturaliteit als een openbreken van vanzelfsprekendheden, inaugural lecture, chair of intercultural philosophy, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam: Rotterdamse Filosofische Studies; English version forthcoming in: van Binsbergen, W.M.J., Intercultural encounters: Towards an empirical philosophy, in preparation; also at: http://come.to/vanbinsbergen. Also: van Binsbergen, W.M.J., in preparation, Global Bee Flight: Sub-Saharan Africa, Ancient Egypt, and the World — Beyond the Black Athena thesis; van Binsbergen, W.M.J., 1997, ‘Rethinking Africa’s contribution to global cultural history: Lessons from a comparative historical analysis of mankala board-games and geomantic divination’, in: van Binsbergen, W.M.J., 1997, ed., Black Athena: Ten Years After, Hoofddorp: Dutch Archaeological and Historical Society, special issue, Talanta: Proceedings of the Dutch Archaeological and Historical Society, vols 28-29, 1996-97, pp. 221-254.

[7] Appiah, In my father’s house, o.c., p. 174; cited in approval in: Bell, R.H., 1997, ‘Understanding African philosophy from a non-African point of view: An exercise in cross-cultural philosophy’, in: Eze, Postcolonial African philosophy, o.c., pp. 197-220, p. 218f, n. 29.

[8] Kaphagawani & Malherbe, ‘African epistemology’, o.c., p. 209.

[9]              Tales, p. 168f.

[10]            Tales, p. 169f.

[11]            Tales, pp. 199f.

[12]                Mudimbe, Parables and fables, p. x dates this illness at five years after the submission of his doctoral dissertation at Louvain in 1970, but since Entretrailles was already published in 1973, we have to question either this dating, or the claim of that book having been written within five month before or after Le Bel immonde (published 1976) and L’Autre face du royaume (published 1974).

[13]                Mudimbe, V.Y., 1973, Entre les eaux: Dieu, un prêtre, la révolution: Roman, Paris: Présence africaine; Mudimbe, V.Y., 1976, Le bel immonde: Récit, [ roman ] Paris: Présence africaine; English translation Before the birth of the moon, New York: Simon & Schuster; Mudimbe, V.Y., 1974, L’Autre face du royaume: Une introduction à la critique des langages en folie, essai, Lausanne: L’Age d’Homme.

[14]            Ekstasis is a Greek word used by Plato in the sense of ‘extension’.

[15]            Sartre, J.-P., 1943, L’être et le Néant, Paris: Gallimard, 1943; trans. H. Barnes, Being and Nothingness, New York: Philosophical Library/ London: Methuen, 1956, p. 31.

[16]            Tales, pp. 199f.

[17]            Tales, p. 202.

[18]            Tales, p. 175.

[19]            van Binsbergen, Religious Change, o.c.; Fields, Revival and rebellion, o.c.. In another book Mudimbe takes up the issue of prophetism in Central Africa at greater length, but along essentially the same lines: Mudimbe, Parables and fables, pp. 1-31.

[20]            Amselle, J.-L., 1990, Logiques métisses: Anthropologie de l’identité en Afrique et ailleurs, Paris: Payot. For a similar view on anglophone and lusophone Africa, cf. Vail, L., 1989, ‘Ethnicity in Southern African history’, in: Vail, L., red., The creation of tribalism in Southern Africa, Londen/ Berkeley & Los Angeles: Currey/ University of California Press, pp. 1-19; cf. Tales, p. 152.

[21]            Amselle, intervention at a 1995 seminar at Leiden. Schilder, K., & van Binsbergen, W.M.J., 1993, ‘Recent Dutch and Belgian perspectives on ethnicity in Africa’, in: Ethnicity in Africa, eds. van Binsbergen, W.M.J. & Kees Schilder, special issue of Afrika Focus, 9, 1-2, 1993: 3-15; van Binsbergen, W.M.J., 1997, ‘Ideology of ethnicity in Central Africa’, in: Middleton, J.M., ed., Encyclopaedia of Africa south of the Sahara, New York: Scribners, vol. 2, pp. 91-99; van Binsbergen, W.M.J., 1992, Kazanga: Etniciteit in Afrika tussen staat en traditie, inaugural lecture, Amsterdam: Vrije Universiteit; shortened French version: ‘Kazanga: Ethnicité en Afrique entre Etat et tradition’, in: Binsbergen, W.M.J. van, & Schilder, K., red., Perspectives on Ethnicity in Africa, specia; issue ‘Ethnicity’, Afrika Focus, Gent (België), 1993, 1: 9-40; English version with postscript: van Binsbergen, W.M.J., 1994, ‘The Kazanga festival: Ethnicity as cultural mediation and transformation in central western Zambia’, African Studies, 53, 2, 1994, pp 92-125.

[22]            Tales, p. 184f.

[23]            Tales, pp. 179f.

[24]            Horton, R., 1971, ‘African conversion’, Africa, 41 : 85-108; Horton, R., 1975, ‘On the rationality of conversion’, Africa, 45: 219-235, 373-399.

[25]            Tales, pp. 179f.

[26]            Tales, p. 147.

[27]            Tales, p. 59.

 

Proceed to:

Part 0. Introduction and links to other parts
Part
1.
Mudimbe's method
Part 2.
Clerical intellectualism in Central Africa
Part
3a.
Mudimbe's homelessness: No African home, Afrocentrism, death
Part 4. Historic African religion
Part
5.
Conclusion: Mudimbe's and van Binsbergen's itineraries compared


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