Category Archives: Ethnography

What John H. Speke, Explorer, Can tell Us about Gum Arabic, 2 of 3

As the African explorers Livingston and Burton, the explorer Speke detailed the important uses of gum acacias in local life and in national and international markets.  The potential of gums for colonial powers [read colonial U.K.] reflects the market interests that could … Continue reading

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Posted in Agroforestry, Botany, Colonialism, Ethnography, Food, Richard Burton, Sudan | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Mungo Park, an 18th Century Ethnologist Explores West Africa

Mungo Park is the first explorer/writer of the 18th century who attempted to interpret local people and places from a local point of view   He was influenced by principles and practices of the Enlightenment. picture source – http://www.vialibri.net In this entry we … Continue reading

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Posted in Africa-West, Agriculture, Arab traders, Colonial, Cuisine, Ethnography, Food, Mungo Park | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Magicality of Cuisine 5 – A Spicy Warriors’ Stew, Gabon West Africa

Cuisine in premodern societies may contain a variety of ingredients that are meant to imbue the dish with magical attributes directed to specific ends.  In past blogs on this topic we have seen dishes that are to secure love for … Continue reading

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Posted in Africa-West, Agriculture, Cuisine, Ethnography, Food, Indigenous crops & medicinal plants, Magic | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

The Magical House-Breaker of Gabon, West Africa – 19th. Century

The following story told to the Rev. Nassau contains several features that are characteristic of groups living in the area in which he lived and worked: Separation of settlements from the gardens maintained by women of these settlements; Honorable characteristics … Continue reading

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Posted in Africa-West, Agriculture, Ethnography, Gardens, Magic, Missionaries, Robert Nassau | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Magicality of Cuisine 4: Feeding the Soil a Stew of Leaves and Bark to Guarantee Successful Gardening, 19th Century Gabon, West Africa

Just as people and spirits must be fed, so, too, is the case with the soils that are to be cultivated.  Hence, magically based recipes that are specially destined to nourish the soils and/or spirits associated with a woman’s garden … Continue reading

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Posted in Africa-West, Agriculture, Cuisine, Ethnography, Food, Indigenous crops & medicinal plants, Magic, Missionaries, Recipes, Robert Nassau | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Magicality of Cuisine 2: A Recipe for a complicated Love Filtre for Men. 19th Century Gabon

Continuing our survey of pre-modern dishes with examples from the Gabon area of West Africa, I want to give a recipe for a love filtre for men as detailed by Dr. Robert Nassau, who served as missionary, doctor and ethnologist throughout … Continue reading

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Posted in Africa-General, Africa-West, Anthropology, Cuisine, Ethnography, Indigenous crops & medicinal plants, Magic, Missionaries, Recipes, Robert Nassau | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

What the well-dressed fieldworker is wearing this summer (i)

Matthew Timothy Bradley is posting a series of blog on field-garb, which is both very useful for those in or going to the field and is also very amusing.  Some good analysis from, of course, a field anthropologist.  Here are a … Continue reading

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Posted in Africa-General, Anthropology, Egypt, Ethnography, Explorers & exploration | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment