Whether initiating girls or healing cattle, bringing rain or protesting taxation, many in Africa share a vision of a world where the cultural, symbolic and cosmic categories of 'male' and 'female' serve, through ritual, to both reimagine and transform the world. Those Who Play With Fire introduces recent gender theory to the analysis of African ethnography, exploring the ways in which ideational gender categories permeate African systems of thought and ritual practices. Thus, the book provides a powerful framework with which to evaluate previous ethnographic material on Africa. In addition, Those Who Play With Fire presents a broad range of new case studies - of hunter-gatherers, agriculturalists and pastoralists - revealing the varied and complex ways in which African ideas and ideals of what it means to be 'male' and 'female' broadly inform and give meaning to a wide range of transformative rituals.
Table of Contents
PART 1 INTRODUCTION1 Gender, Symbolism and Praxis: Theoretical ApproachesPART II RITUAL SYMBOLS: PERFORMANCE AND NARRATIVES2 'Doing Gender' in Africa: Embodying Categories and the Categorically Disembodied3 The Lion at the Waterhole: The Secrets of Life and Death in Chewa4 First Gender, Wrong Sex5 Saisee Tororeita: An Analysis of Complementarity in Akie Gender Ideology6 Creation and the Multiple Female Body: Turkana Perspectives on Gender and CosmosPART III GENDER, FERTILITY AND SOCIAL AGENCY7 'Dealing with Men's Spears': Datooga Pastoralists Combating Male Intrusion on Female Fertility8 Gender Ideology, and the Domestic and Public Domains Among the Iraqw9 Women's Work is Weeping: Constructions of Gender in a Catholic CommunityPART IV AFTERWARD10 Chaos and Creativity: The Transformative Symbolism of Fused Categories
Henrietta L. Moore is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Gender Institute and Todd Sanders is Research Fellow in the Department of Anthropology, both at the London School of Economics. Bwire Kaare is Lecturer in the Institute of Finance Management, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.