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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Between the devil and the cross: religion, slavery, and the making of the Anlo-Ewe
Author:Venkatachalam, MeeraISNI
Year:2012
Periodical:The Journal of African History (ISSN 0021-8537)
Volume:53
Issue:1
Pages:45-64
Language:English
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:ethnic identity
Anlo
Ewe
missions
female slaves
rituals
Link:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021853712000059
Abstract:The idea that mission Christianity played a pivotal role in the creation of modern African ethnic identities has become paradigmatic. Yet, the actual cultural and social processes that facilitated the widespread reception of specific ethnic identities have been under-researched. Suggesting that historians have overemphasized the role of Christian schooling and theology in ethnic identity formation, this article examines how the Anlo people of south-eastern Ghana came, over the twentieth century, to recognize themselves as part of the larger Ewe ethnic group. Although Christian missionaries were the first to conceive of 'Ewe' as a broad ethnic identity, a corpus of non-Christian ritual practices pioneered by inland Ewe slave women, notably Dente or Fofie worship, were crucial to many Anlos' embrace of Eweness. Fofie worship has been fundamentally concerned with the spiritual aftermath of slaveholding and the need to incorporate slave ancestors and their descendents. Fofie became a means for Anlo to investigate their closest 'Other', the inland Ewe. Through Fofie worship, Anlo have developed a discourse of Eweness in their ritual consciousness. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]
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