Whether initiating girls or healing cattle, bringing rain or protesting taxation, many in Africa share a vision of a world where the cultural, symbolic and cosmic categories of 'male' and 'female' serve, through ritual, to both reimagine and transform the world. Those Who Play With Fire introduces recent gender theory to the analysis of African ethnography, exploring the ways in which ideational gender categories permeate African systems of thought and ritual practices. Thus, the book provides a powerful framework with which to evaluate previous ethnographic material on Africa. In addition, Those Who Play With Fire presents a broad range of new case studies - of hunter-gatherers, agriculturalists and pastoralists - revealing the varied and complex ways in which African ideas and ideals of what it means to be 'male' and 'female' broadly inform and give meaning to a wide range of transformative rituals.
Henrietta L. Moore is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Gender Institute and Todd Sanders is Research Fellow in the Department of Anthropology, both at the London School of Economics. Bwire Kaare is Lecturer in the Institute of Finance Management, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
PART 1 INTRODUCTION 1 Gender, Symbolism and Praxis: Theoretical Approaches PART II RITUAL SYMBOLS: PERFORMANCE AND NARRATIVES 2 'Doing Gender' in Africa: Embodying Categories and the Categorically Disembodied 3 The Lion at the Waterhole: The Secrets of Life and Death in Chewa 4 First Gender, Wrong Sex 5 Saisee Tororeita: An Analysis of Complementarity in Akie Gender Ideology 6 Creation and the Multiple Female Body: Turkana Perspectives on Gender and Cosmos PART III GENDER, FERTILITY AND SOCIAL AGENCY 7 'Dealing with Men's Spears': Datooga Pastoralists Combating Male Intrusion on Female Fertility 8 Gender Ideology, and the Domestic and Public Domains Among the Iraqw 9 Women's Work is Weeping: Constructions of Gender in a Catholic Community PART IV AFTERWARD 10 Chaos and Creativity: The Transformative Symbolism of Fused Categories