African Divination Systems

African Divination Systems : Ways of Knowing

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This volume of finely crafted case studies is also the vehicle for an important general theory of divination.... this is a book overflowing with ideas that will powerfully stimulate further research." -Journal of Ritual StudiesThe essays in this collection provide a very useful overview of both the diversity of African divination systems and of recent approaches to their study." -ChoiceThis unique collection of essays by an exceptional international group of Africanists demonstrates the central role that divination continues to play throughout Africa in maintaining cultural systems and in guiding human action. African Divination Systems offers insights for current discussions in comparative epistemology, cross-cultural psychology, cognition studies, semiotics, ethnoscience, religious studies, and more

Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 155.2 x 233.2 x 19.3mm | 442.91g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 10 b&w photos
  • 0253206537
  • 9780253206534
  • 1,680,553

Review quote

The essays in this collection provide a very useful overview of both the diversity of African divination systems and of recent approaches to their study. The introduction critically reviews the preoccupations of earlier students of African divination. The essays that follow are divided into five sections that explore, in turn, the identity of the diviner; comparative and historical issues; the central role of divination in the articulation of cultural ideas, norms, and values within society; the making of knowledge through the divinatory process; and the integration of normal and nonnormal ways of knowing within the divination process. Although all of the essays provide rich ethnographic data, the essays in the fourth and fifth section are the most interesting from a theoretical perspective. They provide the clearest critique of previous positivist approaches to divination, which focus on the outcomes of the divinatory process while failing to appreciate the meanings and truths that inhere to, and are articulated by, the process itself. Of particular interest are the facinating articles by Rosalind Shaw and Philip Peek. Highly recommended for advanced undergraduates.December 1991 -- R. M. Packard * Tufts University *show more

Table of contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroductionThe Study of Divination, Present and PastPhilip M. PeekPart One. Becoming a DivinerThe Initiation of a Zulu DivinerHenry CallawayPart Two. The Search for KnowledgeNilotic Cosmology and the Divination of Atuot PhilosophyJohn W. BurtonDivination in Madagascar: The Antemoro Case and theDiffusion of DivinationPierre Verin and Narivelo RajaonarimananaPart Three. Cultural Systems within Divination SystemsDiviners as Alienists and Annunciators among the Batammalibaof TogoRudolph BlierDivination Among the Lobi of Burkina FasoPiet MeyerDivination and the Hunt in Pagibeti IdeologyAlden AlmquistMediumistic Divination among the Northern Yaka of Zaire:Etiology and Ways of KnowingRene DevischPart Four. Divination, Epistemology, and TruthSplitting Truths from Darkness: Epistemological Aspects ofTemne DivinationRosalind ShawKnowledge and Power in Nyole DivinationSusan Reynolds WhyteSimultaneity and Sequencing in the Oracular Speech ofKenyan DivinersDavid ParkinPart Five. Toward a New Approach to DivinationAfrican Divination Systems: Non-Normal Modes of CognitionPhilip M. PeekAfterwordJames W. FernandezContributorsIndexshow more

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