This book is an account of murder and politics in Africa, and an historical ethnography of southern Annang communities during the colonial period. Its narrative leads to events between 1945 and 1948 when the imperial gaze of police, press and politicians was focused on a series of mysterious deaths in south-eastern Nigeria attributed to the 'man-leopard society'. These murder mysteries, reported as the 'biggest, strangest murder hunt in the world', were not just forensic but also related to the broad historical impact of commercial, Christian and colonial aid relations on Annang society.
David Pratten is University Lecturer in the Social Anthrology of Africa at the University of Oxford.
CONTENTS; 1. INTRODUCTION; 'Murder at Ikot Okoro - Leopard Alleged'; Leopard Men in Fact and Fiction; A Social History of Murder; 2. OF LEOPARDS AND LEADERS; Power and Personhood; Trade and Transformation; Conversion and Conquest; 3. RESISTANCE AND REVIVAL, 1910-1929; The Landscape of Power; The Spirit Movement; The Women's War; 4. PROGRESSIVES AND POWER, 1930-38; Americans and Anthropology; 'We shall not be ruled by our children'; Women and the 'Infamous Traffic'; 5. WAR AND PUBLIC, 1939-1945; 'John Bull' and the Reading Public; Cassava and Crime; 'Audacious Leopards' and 'Atrocious Deeds'; 6. INLAWS AND OUTLAWS, 1946; 'The Time of Accusation'; 'What is at the bottom of the leopard man epidemic?'; 'The leopard that hides its spots'; 7. DIVINATIONS AND DELEGATIONS, 1947; Police and Prophecy; The Ibibio Union Touring Delegation; The Man-Eating Leopard of Ikot Udoro; 8. THE POLITICS OF 'IMPROVEMENT', 1947-1960; The Leopards' Legacy; Nationalist Trajectories; Expectations Revisited; 9. ECHOES OF EKPE OWO.