Evil in Africa

Evil in Africa : Encounters with the Everyday

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William C. Olsen, Walter E. A. van Beek, and the contributors to this volume seek to understand how Africans have confronted evil around them. Grouped around notions of evil as a cognitive or experiential problem, evil as malevolent process, and evil as an inversion of justice, these essays investigate what can be accepted and what must be condemned in order to evaluate being and morality in African cultural and social contexts. These studies of evil entanglements take local and national histories and identities into account, including state politics and civil war, religious practices, Islam, gender, and modernity.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 404 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 22.86mm | 522g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 0253017475
  • 9780253017475
  • 1,322,934

Review quote

This timely book adds to knowledge in the area of African religions. . . . [T]he book is valuable in highlighting how complex evil is as expressed and experienced in Africa. * Reading Religion * The volume's richly detailed case studies build bridges between the anthropology of religion and current anthropological theories of morality, ethics, and social suffering. * American Ethnologist * This volume will be widely welcomed as dovetailing with a range of recent treatments, notably by Peter Geschiere and Richard Werbner, of how practical wisdom may consist of identifying apparently familiar others as uncanny threats, or alternately of recognizing distortions of the familiar within oneself. * Journal of African History *show more

About William C. Olsen

William C. Olsen lectures in the African Studies Program at Georgetown University.Walter E. A. van Beek is Professor of Anthropology of Religion at Tilburg University.show more

Table of contents

Introduction: African Notions of Evil: The Chimera of Justice Walter E.A. van Beek and William C. Olsen Part I. Evil and the State/War 1. Political Evil: Witchcraft from the Perspective of the Bewitched Sonia Silva 2. Untying Wrongs in Northern Uganda Susan Reynolds Whyte, Lotte Meinert, Julaina Obika 3. The Evil of Insecurity in South Sudan: Violence and Impunity in Africa's Newest State Jok Madut Jok 4. Genocide, Evil and Human Agency: The Concept of Evil in Rwandan Explanations of the 1994 Genocide Jennie E. Burnet 5. Politics and Cosmographic Anxiety: Kongo and Dagbon Compared Wyatt MacGaffey Part II. Evil and Religion 6. Ambivalence and the Work of the Negative Among the Yaka Rene Devisch 7. Aze and the Incommensurable Leocadie Ekoue with Judy Rosenthal 8. Evil and the Art of Revenge in the Mandara Mountains Walter E.A. van Beek 9. Distinctions in the Imagination of Harm in Contemporary Mijikenda Thought: The Existential Challenge of Majini Diane Ciekawy 10. Haunted by Absent Others: Movements of Evil in a Nigerian City Ulrika Trovalla 11. Attributions of Evil among Haalpulaaren, Senegal Roy Dilley 12. Reflections regarding Good and Evil: The Complexity of Words in Zanzibar Kjersti Larsen 13. Constructing Moral Personhood: The Moral Test in Tuareg Sociability as a Commentary on Honor and Dishonor Susan J. Rasmussen 14. The Gender of Evil: Maasai Experiences and Expressions Dorothy L. Hodgson Part III. Evil and Modernity 15. Neo-Cannibalism, Military Bio-Politics, and the Problem of Human Evil Nancy Scheper-Hughes 16. Theft and Evil in Asante William C. Olsen 17. Sorcery after Socialism: Liberalization and Anti Witchcraft Practices in Southern Tanzania Maia Green 18. Transatlantic Pentecostal Demons in Maputo Linda van de Kamp 19. The Meaning of "Apartheid" and the Epistemology of Evil Adam Ashshow more