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Edited by Ingo Haltermann and Julia Tischler

The volume Environmental Change and African Societies contributes to current debates on global climate change from the perspectives of the social sciences and the humanities. It charts past and present environmental change in different African settings and also discusses policies and scenarios for the future. The first section, “Ideas”, enquires into local perceptions of the environment, followed by contributions on historical cases of environmental change and state regulation. The section “Present” addresses decision-making and agenda-setting processes related to current representations and/or predicted effects of climate change. The section “Prospects” is concerned with contemporary African megatrends. The authors move across different scales of investigation, from locally-grounded ethnographic analyses to discussions on continental trends and international policy.
Contributors are: Daniel Callo-Concha, Joy Clancy, Manfred Denich, Sara de Wit, Ton Dietz, Irit Eguavoen, Ben Fanstone, Ingo Haltermann, Laura Jeffrey, Emmanuel Kreike, Vimbai Kwashirai, James C. McCann, Bertrand F. Nero, Jonas Ø. Nielsen, Erick G. Tambo, Julia Tischler.


Hans Olsson

In Jesus for Zanzibar: Narratives of Pentecostal (Non-)Belonging, Islam, and Nation Hans Olsson offers an ethnographic account of the lived experience and socio-political significance of newly arriving Pentecostal Christians in the Muslim majority setting of Zanzibar. This work analyzes how a disputed political partnership between Zanzibar and Mainland Tanzania intersects with the construction of religious identities.

Undertaken at a time of political tensions, the case study of Zanzibar’s largest Pentecostal church, the City Christian Center, outlines religious belonging as relationally filtered in-between experiences of social insecurity, altered minority / majority positions, and spiritual powers. Hans Olsson shows that Pentecostal Christianity, as a signifier of (un)wanted social change, exemplifies contested processes of becoming in Zanzibar that capitalizes on, and creates meaning out of, religious difference and ambient political tensions.

Moving Spaces

Creolisation and Mobility in Africa, the Atlantic and Indian Ocean


Edited by Marina Berthet, Fernando Rosa and Shaun Viljoen

Moving Spaces: Creolisation and Mobility in Africa, the Atlantic and Indian Ocean addresses issues of creolisation, mobility, and migration of ideas, songs, stories, and people, as well as plants, in various parts of Africa, the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean worlds. It brings together Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone specialists from various fields – anthropology, geography, history, language & literary studies – from Africa, Brazil, Europe, and the Indo-Pacific. It is a book which, while opening new perspectives, also intriguingly suggests that languages are essential to all processes of creolisation, and that therefore the latter cannot be understood without reference to the former. Its strength therefore lies in bringing together studies from different language domains, particularly Afrikaans, Creole, English, French, Portuguese, and Sanskrit.

Contributors include Andrea Acri, Joaze Bernardino, Marina Berthet, Alain Kaly, Uhuru Phalafala, Haripriya Rangan, Fernando Rosa, António Tomás and Shaun Viljoen.

Regional Integration and Migration in Africa

Lessons from Southern and West Africa


Vusi Gumede, Samuel Ojo Oloruntoba and Serges Djoyou Kamga

This comparative book debates migration and regional integration in the two regional economic blocs, namely the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The book takes a historical and nuanced citizenship approach to integration by analysing regional integration from the perspective of non-state actors and how they negotiate various structures and institutions in their pursuit for life and livelihood in a contemporary context marked by mobility and economic fragmentation.

Roads Through Mwinilunga

A History of Social Change in Northwest Zambia


Iva Peša

Roads through Mwinilunga provides a historical appraisal of social change in Northwest Zambia from 1750 until the present. By looking at agricultural production, mobility, consumption, and settlement patterns, existing explanations of social change are reassessed. Using a wide range of archival and oral history sources, Iva Peša shows the relevance of Mwinilunga to broader processes of colonialism, capitalism, and globalisation. Through a focus on daily life, this book complicates transitions from subsistence to market production and dichotomies between tradition and modernity. Roads through Mwinilunga is a crucial addition to debates on historical and social change in Central Africa.

A Decade of Tanzania

Politics, Economy and Society 2005-2017

Kurt Hirschler and Rolf Hofmeier

Tanzania is widely recognized as a rather exceptional case of an African country that has seen political continuity and stability for more than five decades and has not experienced any major conflicts as has been the case elsewhere on the continent. Major political transformations – such as the transformation from a socialist one-party state to a market-oriented multi-party system – were initiated from above and controlled by the Revolutionary Party CCM, which has ruled the country since it gained independence in 1961. Despite its peaceful development and steady economic growth rates over the past 15 years, Tanzania has remained a low-income country with a huge majority of its people living in poverty.

This volume contains the original country chapters on Tanzania from the Africa Yearbook. Politics, Economy and Society South of the Sahara, covering the period 2005 – 2017. It embraces the entire 10-year presidency of President Kikwete and the first two years under the current President Magufuli.

Biblical Interpretation and African Traditional Religion

Cross-Cultural and Community Readings in Owamboland, Namibia


Helen C. John

In Biblical Interpretation and African Traditional Religion, Helen C. John juxtaposes grassroots biblical interpretations from Owamboland, Namibia, with professional interpretations of selected New Testament texts, effectively demonstrating the capacity of grassroots interpretations to destabilise, challenge and nuance dominant professional interpretations. John uses a cross-cultural and dialogical approach – ‘Cross-Cultural Biblical Interpretation Groups’ – to explore the relationship between African Traditional Religion (ATR), Christianity and biblical interpretation in Owamboland, Namibia. She contextualises the grassroots Owambo interpretations using fieldwork experiences and ethnographic literature, thus heightening the cross-cultural encounter. In particular, John reflects on Western epistemologies and the Eurocentric interpretative trends that are brought into relief by the African interpretations gathered in Owamboland.

Crime, Law and Society in Nigeria

Essays in Honour of Stephen Ellis


Edited by Rufus Akinyele and Ton Dietz

This volume in honour of Stephen Ellis is a follow-up to the public presentation of his book on the history of organised crime in Nigeria This Present Darkness (Hurst, 2016) at the University of Lagos, Nigeria on 28 October 2016. In addition to four papers, and a book review presented at this colloquium, other contributions about crime in Nigeria have been added, written by Nigerian authors. In July 2015 Stephen died, and he has worked on This Present Darkness almost to his last moments, as a senior researcher of the African Studies Centre in Leiden. This book also contains a tribute to his life and work written by his wife and scholar Gerrie ter Haar.

Contributors include: A.E Akintayo, Jackson Aluede, Franca Attoh, Ayodele Atsenuwa, Edmund Chilaka, Samson Folarin, Gerrie ter Haar, Ayodeji Olukoju, Abiodun Oluwadare, Paul Osifodunrin and Leo Enahoro Otoide.


Helen C. John


With its focus on bodies, illness, and healing, this chapter considers the scholarly discussions concerning the haemorrhaging woman, in particular. It engages the debate surrounding her bleeding: is it primarily a purity (Selvidge 1984, 1990) or a health (D'Angelo 1999) concern? A consideration of the potency and agency of blood in the Ondonga setting provides an example of a purity context. Interestingly, however, the CCBIGs did not return a purity-based interpretation. The body and person were discussed more broadly; the CCBIGs revealed extended notions of the person, including agency of (and access to) the person through their shadow, excreta, bodily fluids, clothing, amulets and adornments, amongst other things. This is used to engage discussions of the 'magical' elements that some scholars perceive in the texts. The chapter suggests that a broader notion of the person might be helpful in seeking to understand what, to some scholarly eyes, might look like 'magical' actions (here, healing through clothing; elsewhere in the New Testament, healing using spit, mud, handkerchiefs, shadows, etc.).

In terms of investigating the persistence of indigenous beliefs and practices, this chapter explores connotations, agency and uses of blood; among the latter, it became clear that autochthonous healing practices were still in use, such as visiting traditional healers (oonganga), the use of blood from cuts (oonsha) made to the eyebrows or upper cheeks to salve eye pain, and adornment with apotropaic beads (omagwe) to resist bewitchment. The body’s contemporary vulnerability to spirits and witchcraft – evidence of which is considerable in ethnographic literature – is demonstrated through (inter alia) reports of strangulation by iiluli (restless spirits) and in perceptions of disability and sickness today. This chapter also explored enduring autochthonous perspectives on the body as but one part of the ‘extended person’, with some believing that the individual was also present in their shadow, clothing, image and imprint.


Helen C. John


CCBIG interpretation of the Calming of the Storm and Jesus Walking on Water are used in this chapter to challenge the high degree of contextuality apparent in Western scholarship on those texts. Firstly, the extent to which traditional, historical-criticism is reliant on its post-Enlightenment, demythologised, apparently 'rationalist' roots is brought into relief when selected interpretations of the Calming of the Storm are brought into dialogue with the grassroots voices from Iihongo. A tendency to reduce the narrative to a symbolic level becomes apparent when faced with Iihongo understandings of the wind and waves as spirit forces, which may be engaged in ordinary consciousness, in everyday settings. Social-scientific interpretations (particularly those of the Context Group) encourage biblical scholars to expand their horizons and to take into account other cultural realities. However, when juxtaposed with the interpretations returned by the CCBIGs, the 'othering' of spirit forces - that they must exist in alternate realities - becomes apparent. The 'othering' of spirit engagements - that they must take place in alternate states of consciousness (for example, by a shamanic figure) - follows in a similar vein (Malina 2001; Malina Rohrbaugh 2003; Pilch 1993, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2011). CCBIGs are shown here to offer a way in which biblical scholars might more comprehensively consider other cultural realities, including the genuine, lived experience of spirits as ordinary realities, free from the shackles of the 'rationalist' agenda that inflects much Western contemporary historical-critical biblical scholarship.

Reflecting on the metanarrative, this chapter shows that the pre-Christian spirit complex extends beyond the landscape into contemporary understandings of natural phenomena, here through the identification of storms and whirlwinds with spirit forces. The participants related formulaic verbal addresses used to divert whirlwinds and exorcise possessed landscapes, engaging the power of ‘local culture’ rather than Christianity to effect the desired result.