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Book Book Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Fusion of the worlds: An ethnography of possession among the Songhay of Niger
Author:Stoller, P.
City of publisher:Chicago
Publisher:University of Chicago Press
Geographic term:Niger
Subject:spirit possession
Abstract:This book complements 'In sorcery's shadow' (1987), a book about the author's apprenticeship to Songhay sorcerers. It is based on long and intensive field missions among the Songhay of Niger in 1976-1977, 1979-1980, 1981, 1982-1983, 1984, 1985-1986, and 1987. On the basis of his membership of the Tillaberi possession troupe the author describes Songhay possession ceremonies, where the natural and supernatural, modern and traditional, and public and private worlds meet and fuse. After an introduction on possession and on the history, structure, and sensuality of the Songhay world, the first part of the book describes the organization of the Tillaberi troupe, bringing into relief the textures of the lives of possession priests, spirit mediums, praise singers, and musicians. The second part re-creates major Sonhay possession ceremonies and discusses the relations among possession, symbolism, ecology, history, and politics. In part three, the author probes possession in contemporary Niger, focusing on the relationship among possession, Islam, and drought. In an epilogue the presentation of two ceremonies, witnessed in 1987, demonstrates how the Songhay use possession to make sense of their multifaceted experience-in-the-world.: