Spirit Possession and Muslim Practice in Northern Nigeria

Spirit Possession and Muslim Practice in Northern Nigeria

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Northern Nigeria is home to the largest concentration of Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa. However, Susan M. O'Brien finds that the controversial practice of bori spirit possession often has challenged the dominant, public face of Islam. O'Brien tracks a long history of bori ritual persisting through several centuries of Islamic censure and British colonial suppression-as a healing practice, a form of entertainment, and a repository of Hausa memory. O'Brien situates bori spirit mediums as typical, rather than deviant or marginal members of the Muslim community. She documents a less orthodox application of Islam that forces new interpretations of how to be Muslim today.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 306 pages
  • 152 x 229mm
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 10 b&w illus., 1 map
  • 0253223466
  • 9780253223463

Table of contents

Acknowledgements Glossary Map of Nigeria Introduction Part I. Islam, Bori, and the State 1: Spiritual Authority, State Power, and Healing in Pre-Colonial Hausaland 2: Colonial Discourses of Difference: The Logic of Indirect Rule and British Suppression of Bori 3: Spirits and Bodies: Schoolgirl Possession, Islamic Exorcism, and the Everydayness of Bori 4: Spirits in the Shari'a State: Contesting Islamic Orthodoxy in Contemporary Kano Part II. Muslim Practices, Bori Lives 5: Pilgrimage, Power, and Identity: the Narrated Hajj in the Lives and Communities of 'Yan Bori 6: Narrating Bori Lives: Fantasy, Folktale, and the Hausa Moral Imagination 7: Marriage and Gender in Bori Lives Conclusion Source Material
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Review quote

"Illuminates major aspects of Hausa society and challenges long-held assumptions about bori, Islam, and gender." -John H. Hanson, Indiana University Bloomington
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About Susan M. O'brien

Susan M. O'Brien is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Florida. Her work has appeared in Africa Today.
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