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Fusion of the Worlds: An Ethnography of Possession among the Songhay of Niger

Fusion of the Worlds: An Ethnography of Possession among the Songhay of Niger
Author: Paul Stoller
ISBN 13: 9780226775456
ISBN 10: 226775453
Edition: 1
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: 1997-06-21
Format: Paperback
Pages: 268
List Price: $32.00

"This ethnography is more like a film than a book, so well does Stoller evoke the color, sight, sounds, and movements of Songhay possession ceremonies."—Choice

"Stoller brilliantly recreates the reality of spirit presence; hosts are what they mediate, and spirits become flesh and blood in the 'fusion' with human existence. . . . An excellent demonstration of the benefits of a new genre of ethnographic writing. It expands our understanding of the harsh world of Songhay mediums and sorcerers."—Bruce Kapferer, American Ethnologist

"A vivid story that will appeal to a wide audience. . . . The voices of individual Songhay are evident and forceful throughout the story. . . . Like a painter, [Stoller] is concerned with the rich surface of things, with depicting images, evoking sensations, and enriching perceptions. . . . He has succeeded admirably." —Michael Lambek, American Anthropologist

"Events (ceremonies and life histories) are evoked in cinematic style. . . . [This book is] approachable and absorbing—it is well written, uncluttered by jargon and elegantly structured."—Richard Fardon, Times Higher Education Supplement

"Compelling, insightful, rich in ethnographic detail, and worthy of becoming a classic in the scholarship on Africa."—Aidan Southall, African Studies Review


Stoller (anthropology, West Chester U.) lived amongst the Songhays intermittently for 18 years, he presents a vivid view of a possession cult from an insider's perspective as he recounts the many possession ceremonies he took part in during a drought in 1984. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)