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Encounter, Transformation, and Identity

Encounter, Transformation, and Identity: Peoples of the Western Cameroon Borderlands, 1891-2000

Ian Fowler
Verkijika G. Fanso
Dorothy Njeuma
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 254
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  • Book Info
    Encounter, Transformation, and Identity
    Book Description:

    Bringing together key historical and innovative ethnographic materials on the peoples of the South-West Province of Cameroon and the Nigerian borderlands, this volume presents critical and analytical approaches to the production of ethnic, political, religious, and gendered identities in the region. The contributors examine a range of issues relating to identity, including first encounters and conflict as well as global networking, trans-national families, enculturation, gender, resistance, and death. In addition to a number of very striking illustrations of ethnographic and material culture, this volume contains key maps from early German sources and other original cartographical materials.

    eISBN: 978-1-84545-934-5
    Subjects: Anthropology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Maps
    (pp. ix-ix)
  4. List of Figures
    (pp. x-x)
  5. Foreword: Shirley Ardener: A Personal Note
    (pp. xi-xiii)
    Verkijika G. Fanso

    My earliest knowledge of Edwin and Shirley Ardener¹ was through two of their publications, namelyPlantation and Village in the Cameroons(1960) and Shirley’sEye-witnesses to the Annexation of Cameroon, 1883–1887(1968), which became invaluable sources to me in later years during my graduate studies in the United Kingdom. I had first come across these books when I was teaching at St Joseph’s College Sasse, near Buea. To be honest, what I liked about the books was their titles, not so very much their content. At that time not much was written about Cameroon or African history, which, I...

  6. Preface: Shirley Ardener: Fortifying Cameroon Studies
    (pp. xiv-xxi)
    Martin and Dorothy Njeuma
  7. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xxii-xxii)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxiii-xxiii)
  9. Contributors
    (pp. xxiv-xxvii)
  10. [Map]
    (pp. xxviii-xxviii)
  11. Chapter 1 Voicing Identity
    (pp. 1-15)
    Ian Fowler

    This volume presents key historical and innovative ethnographic essays that adopt critical and analytical approaches to the production of ethnic, political, religious and gendered identities for the peoples of the South West Province of Cameroon and the Nigerian borderlands (see Map 1.1). It draws together insider and outsider voices reflecting on these issues and is intended to honour the work and person of Shirley Ardener, a preeminent Cameroonist scholar and friend of Cameroon.

    Fittingly, we offer for the first time a major work by the late Edwin Ardener. His chapter presents a critical analysis of the axes of oral tradition...

  12. Chapter 2 Oral Traditions and Administrative Identities
    (pp. 16-49)
    Edwin Ardener

    For this essay, the knitting together of the oral traditions with the scientific evidence, on the one hand, and the documentary material, on the other, have presented some problems of arrangement. Since the traditional material is to some extent timeless it seems best to present it first with some critical examination, reserving attempts to place any of it in a broader time-scale until later.

    The documentation available is relatively rich.¹ Anyone working in West Cameroon² must take into account the considerable body that has been reduced already to manuscript form. It largely consists of a series of reports³ made by...

  13. Chapter 3 Epitome of Extracts from Hermann Detzner, Im Lande Des Dju-Dju
    (pp. 50-68)
    Sally Chilver

    Oberleutnant Hermann Detzner’s book on the Cameroon-Nigeria borderlands (see Map 1.1) is a description of work and travel undertaken in connection with the Anglo-German Boundary Commission expedition that established the boundary from the Alantika Mountains to the Cross River between September 1912 and March 1913. This is a rare and relatively unknown work, which, chapter by chapter, describes the step-by-step progress and encounters of the Boundary Commission. It will be useful to provide a brief epitome¹ in English of the sections (pages 282–382) that deal with the far north and northwest of the present-day Menchum Division of Cameroon,² for...

  14. Chapter 4 Von Gravenreuth and Buea as a Site of History: Early Colonial Violence on Mount Cameroon
    (pp. 69-92)
    Peter Geschiere

    Up till today Buea remains a place saturated with history. On my first visit in 1987 I was impressed to see a sign along the main road sayingHalt! Für einen Gespräch– Stop! For a conversation – the implication being clearly that the owner of the house, Papa Lamba, could tell you all about the German history of the place. In 1957 locals gave Edwin Ardener a copy of a letter of 1894 by Mgr Vieter, then the apostolic prefect of the Catholic Pallotine Mission, with the help of which he was able to correct the official version printed in the...

  15. Chapter 5 Azi since Conrau: Anthropological and Historical Perspectives
    (pp. 93-109)
    Michael Mbapndah Ndobegang and Fiona Bowie

    On 19 December 2003 I¹ set off to walk to the Fon of Fontem’s palace in Azi. I had no trouble remembering the short cut I used to take to Azi’s weekly market when I lived in Fontem in the early 1980s, although in the intervening decades the landscape had changed considerably. Deforestation was continuing apace, with views both distant and near opening up where before there was only forest. New concrete houses, empty or half finished, built by remittances from Bangwa in America and Europe, were appearing – strangely out of place among the red mudbrick houses that have replaced...

  16. Chapter 6 The Submerged History of Nsanakang: A Glimpse into an Anglo-German Encounter
    (pp. 110-140)
    Ute Röschenthaler

    Nsanakang is a small Ejagham village on the left bank of the Cross River (see Map 6.1). It was bigger and more influential in the past, when one of the salt wells of the area was in its possession. Its owners compared it with a farm that endlessly produced wealth. Nsanakang also participated in the slave trade and the traffic of associations and cult agencies. About a century ago, colonial history started to impact on the village, and Nsanakang became a toll station. White traders of the Gesellschaft Nordwest Kamerun arrived, and their first factory was opened at Nsanakang. During...

  17. Chapter 7 The Latent Struggle for Identity and Autonomy in the Southern Cameroons, 1916–1946
    (pp. 141-150)
    Verkijika G. Fanso

    Studies of nationalism in the Southern Cameroons generally begin during the course of the Second World War with the formation of nationalist pressure groups. Hardly any study tries to link the protests, demonstrations, petitions and other manifestations that followed the Anglo-French partition and the absorption of British Cameroon into Nigeria. These continued throughout the entire interwar period and gave rise to the nationalist developments in the 1940s and 1950s (Chiabi 1997; Ngoh 2001; Chem-Langhëë 2004). One exception is Edwin Ardener, who published a series of articles that traced the development of the ‘Kamerun Idea’ in the Southern Cameroons to the...

  18. Chapter 8 Titi Ikoli Revisited: Fetishism, Gender and Power in Transitional Forest Economies of the Upper Cross River Borderlands, 1920s–1990s
    (pp. 151-168)
    Caroline Ifeka

    Nineteenth-century Western classical social theory addressed the relationship between religion and society in terms of its mediation by experience, as in Durkheim’sla conscience socialeor Weber’s Protestant individual’s calling to ‘work by faith’ (Weber 2001; Durkheim 2002). Post–Second World War anthropology developed analyses of the role of religious beliefs and practices in the maintenance and transformation of human social and psychical structures (Levi-Strauss 1967; Turner 1995). In this view the social is disconnected from ‘nature’, which in Christian thought is willed by God to be man’s servant (MacCormack and Strathern 1980). Secular pre-and post-modern theorists share with market...

  19. Chapter 9 Commemorating Women in a Patrilineal Society
    (pp. 169-183)
    Margaret Niger-Thomas

    This chapter describes thendemassociation among the Banyang and Ejagham tribes of Manyu Division in the South West Province of Cameroon, the role it plays in status acquisition among women and its sudden decline over the years. The main aim is to highlight the importance of memorial statues meant to honour women.Ngboko-ndemare colourfully erected life-size clay statues on graves of women who were highly honoured in the society in their lifetime. These statues were made solely to commemorate women: according to Mansfeld’sUrwald-Dokumente(1908), chiefs and other respected elders were not honoured by statues over their graves....

  20. Chapter 10 The Challenge of Multi-sited Ethnography
    (pp. 184-198)
    Fiona Bowie

    In an interview conducted in Cambridge in 1982,¹ Audrey Richards contrasted her own training and fieldwork experience, which involved studying a whole tribe or society, with the more modest ambitions of contemporary ethnographers, who generally take a single theme or a subgroup as their focus. For the first half of the twentieth century, the concern of anthropologists was to fill in the blanks on the map. At the London School of Economics, Audrey Richards was a student of Malinowski, who was actively promoting his new brand of anthropology based on prolonged residence and participant observation. She recounts how, when leaving...

  21. Chapter 11 The Politics of Religious Essentialism: The Eucharistic Meal and Identity Discourses in Postcolonial African Catholicism
    (pp. 199-211)
    Ludovic Lado

    This chapter¹ attempts an anthropological analysis of the postcolonial discourse of inculturation with a particular reference to the Eucharistic meal in the context of African Catholicism. ‘Inculturation’ is a theological neologism that refers to the localization of the Catholic faith in a particular social and cultural context. Obviously, African Catholic theology has its own internal diversity, but the discourse I have chosen to discuss here has become dominant among theologians interested in African Catholicism in the last thirty years. Inculturation is an elitist discourse and, for this reason, this essay does not include voices from below. I am still planning...

  22. Chapter 12 Making a Difference in North-South Relationships: Public and Private Spheres and the Role of the Human Seed in Networking for Local Development
    (pp. 212-230)
    Joyce Endeley and Nalova Lyonga

    The debate on North-South relations remains controversial, polarized and pregnant with mistrust and allegations of injustice. The South holds the North responsible for many of the predicaments it suffers today. On the other hand, the North attributes the South’s predicaments (underdevelopment, poverty, crisis-ridden economies and political context) to mismanagement of its economies and resources and misplaced development priorities, hence pointing a finger at national governments and policies. The debates and discourses on these counter-accusations are found in the works of Brown and Tiffen (1992), Bernstein (2000) and Sen (1999). Nevertheless, it is clear to both parties that neither can live...

  23. Appendix Extracts on the Widekum and the Tikar taken from Notes on the Pre-colonial History and Ethnography of the Bamenda Grassfields, composed and privately circulated by Sally Chilver and Phyllis Kaberry
    (pp. 231-236)
  24. Bibliography
    (pp. 237-247)
  25. Index
    (pp. 248-253)