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Africa, Empire, and Anthropology: A Philological Exploration of Anthropology's Heart of Darkness Author(s): Andrew Apter Source: Annual Review

of Anthropology, Vol. 28 (1999), pp. 577-598 Published by: Annual Reviews Stable URL: Accessed: 27/09/2010 07:51
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Annu. Rev. Anthropol. 1999. 28:577-98 Copyright(C 1999 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved

A AFRICA,EMPIRE,AND ANTHROPOLOGY: Philological Exploration of Anthropology's Heart of Darkness
Departmentof Anthropology,Universityof Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 6063 7-1539; e-mail:

Key Words: Africanist ethnography, imperial culture,colonialspectacle,race, textuality

U Abstract As an artifactof imperialculture,Africanistanthropology is historicallyassociatedwith the colonizationof Africain ways thatundermine the subdiscipline'sclaims of neutrality objectivity.A criticalliterature and on the ideologicalanddiscursiveinventionsof Africaby the West challengesthe to verypossibilityof Africanist anthropology, whicha varietyof responseshave of emerged.These range from historicalreexaminations imperialdiscourses, colonial interactions,and fieldwork in Africa, including dialogical engagementswith the very production ethnographic of texts, to a moredialecticalanthropologyof colonial spectacleandcultureas it was coproduced reciproand cally determinedin imperialcenters and peripheries.Understoodphilologically, as an imperialpalimpsestin ethnographic writing,the coloniallegacy in Africanistethnography neverbe negated,butmustbe acknowledged can under the sign of its erasure.

CONTENTS Introduction ................................................... Africa, Anthropology, and the Colonial Library...... The Critiqueof Pure Colonialism..................................
Dialogics ......................................................... Dialectics .........................................................


Notes from the Postcolony ......... .............................. Conclusion ............ .......................................

578 579 583 583 585 589 592



. but the documentaryuse of Junker'sobservations. he took me off to the life.including E Gellner. too. INTRODUCTION In a revealingpassage of his Races ofAfrica firstpublishedin 1930 andreissued four times by 1966 Seligman quotes Dr.andnow addressandmovementsof EminPasha 'with the foureyes' (spectacles). Wilhelm Junkeron the African pygmy's "amazingtalent for mimicry":"A strikingproof of this was affordedby an Achua whom I had seen andmeasuredfouryears previously in Rumbek.but has significant methodological implications for navigating into and out of anthropology's heart of darkness.and of Haj Halil at their devotions. The passage is strangelydecontextualized by Seligman. Bohannan. and. Somewhatpolemically..J Perstiany.andnow again met at Gam[b]ari's. M Douglas. L Mair. and it would have reflected nothing more than a typical trope of the time i. for instance the gestures and facial expressions of Jussuf Pasha. J Beattie. or even to the text in which it was originally recorded (Junker 1892:86).Rebels! Whatwould be the next definitionI was to hear?There had been enemies. black.J Barnes.the passage itself.SF Nadel. and they representa growing literature thatis developing in interestingways. smiling continuously at some endless andjocose dreamof thateternalslumber.P Kaberry. and with surprisingaccuracy.. down to the minutestdetails. We cannot assume that they consciously endorsed every page of Seligman's book.with closed eyelids. where the event took place. Treating Seligman's quotationof Junker'stext as paradigmaticof the imperialpalimpsestin Africanistanthropology. the diminutiveAfrican as mimic and clown were it not for the formidable reputationsof Seligman and his collaborators.578 APTER I returneddeliberatelyto the first I had seen and there it was. Those rebellious heads looked very subduedto me on their sticks. sunken. rehearsingafterfouryears. was smiling. with the shrunkendry lips showing a narrowwhite line of teeth.M Fortes. dried. as well as the .D Forde.e. DJ Stenning. The philological metaphorframingthis review is not merely rhetorical. EE P Evans-Pritchard.. a head that seemed to sleep at the top of that pole. I begin by reviewing the strongestcritiquesof Africanistanthropologyin relation to empirebecause they raise fundamentalchallenges that must be taken into account by anyone working in the field. with no reference to the southernSudan. He imitatedwith marvellous fidelity the peculiarities of persons whom he had once seen.workers and these were anthropometric performancewhen measuring his body at Rumbek"(Seligman 1966:26-27).I review key positions and debates shaping its theory and practice today. criminals.His comic ways and quick movements made this little fellow the clown of our society. and its relationshipto the rest of Seligman's ethnologicaltext exemplify the "awkwardrelationship"of Africanist anthropologyto the politics and cultureof empire more generally. in both explicit and . Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad.. and I Schaperalisted in later editions..

ANTHROPOLOGY 579 implicit response to these challenges.which.Leiris likens "l'enqueteethnographique"of the historic Dakar-Djiboutiexpedition (Jamin 1982b. Leclerc (1972) located imperial ethnocentrismat the very core of anthropologicalmethod. As arguedelsewhere (Apter 1992b). declaims the possibility of ever knowing what Africans actually think. Previous scholarshad alreadyexaminedthe connectionsbetween anthropology and colonialism in Africa. In one entry.ANTHROPOLOGY. Que je suis donc reste europeen!"(see Jamin 1982a:206). 1981) as a meticulous testimony to colonial fantasy and desire (Jamin 1982a. and displaces his frustratedethnographicdesire into unconsummatedlust for the racialized other: "Je n'ai jamais couche avec une femme noire. Clearly Leiris' "fantome"prefigures Mudimbe's "invention"in these respects. whereas Faris (1973) could confirm that those like Nadel were willing co-conspiratorsin imposingtheoretical-cum-colonial orderandcontrol. like the Holy Grail. LIBRARY When work by Mudimbe (1988) won the Herskovitsawardin 1989. first by examining its dialogical dimensions." Mudimbe (1988:xi) traced a genealogy of models in which representationsof the African "other" functioned not as windows into anotherworld but as signs of imperial domination. and reappearedin three subsequenteditions (1951. gnosis is both a body of secret knowledge to be mastered.AFRICA. I focus mainly on Britishand FrenchAfricanistcontexts and traditionsand blur the boundarybetween anthropologyand history. Focusing on nothing less than "the foundations of discourse about Africa. James (1973) could cast the anthropologistin Africa as a "reluctantimperialist"capable-like Malinowski in his better moments-of openly criticizing colonial authorityand policy. EMPIRE.the latter project was explicitly grounded in critical theory and method. see also Leiris 1989). gnosis functionsfor Mudimbeas a duplex sign anchoringthe form and content of "traditional" African philosophies within those Westerndiscourses thatpurportto representthem. 1968. I then review a rangeof studies thatserve to recuperateAfricanistanthropologyfrom its imperialconditions of impossibility. posing as its centralproblemthe location of gnosis in the orderof knowledge about Africa. In otherwords. AND THE COLONIAL AFRICA. Clifford 1983) to police interrogation. Indeed. Withoutdenying the existence and local authorityof actualAfrican gnos- . In the importantcollection by Asad (1973). In an equally important publicationthe previousyear. refined by functionalism and transformedby relativism but never transcendedor erased. and then by illuminatingthe dialectics of imperial culture not only in Africa but "between metropole and colony" (Stoler & Cooper 1997). which first appearedas L Afriquefant6me in 1934. anthropologists working in Africa faced a rigoroustheoreticalchallenge. is nobly pursuedbut endlessly displaced. but unlike the former poetics of documentation.and an imperial/colonialtropeof authenticalterity.the first monumentalindictmentof Africanistethnographywas by Leiris (1968). then disappearedin 1941 by orderof the Vichy regime.

but can they be held accountablefor of the sins of theirfather(cf Kuklick 1978)? The very framework the International African Institute's Ethnographic Survey of Africa series emphasized the social organizationand culturallife of Africanpeoples ratherthantheirphysical characters and racial types. 1985) on symbolic functions.including de Heusch (1982. a book that also explicitly invokes the Hamitic hypothesis and the childlike simplicity of African languages. the True Negro. etc? Here the racial. Mudimbe(1988:186) asks: "Is not this reality distortedin the expression of African modalities in non-Africanlanguages?Is it not inverted. but the problemof gnosis andthe colonial library poses fundamental questions concerning the very limits of anthropologicalreason itself.modified by anthropological and philosophical categories used by specialists in dominant discourses?"Although the ethnophilosophicalinvestigations of Griaule (1952. Of the African worlds portrayed by such scholarship. 1965) and Tempels (1969) are most directly attackedfor reproducingthe politics of paternalismin their "cultivatedsympathy"(Einfiihlung)for the African sage. Theiraforementionednames appearin a publisher'snote to the third (Seligman 1957) and fourth (Seligman 1966) editions. hair form. Bantu. burial. with its designateddiacriticaof "skin colour. To illustrate. linguistic. of stature. prognathism. e.but does not an implicit racial logic-cloaked in the essentializing categories of native administrationand customarylaw slip unnoticed throughthe back door?Insofaras modernAfricanistethnographyhas sought pristinemodels of social structures(British tradition)and systems of thought (Griaule school).andof the nose" (Seligman 1966:2-3). contains so much materialon social organization.such that society and cultureare effectively subsumedby race.with his multifaceted"idea"of Africa developed furtherin a sequel (Mudimbe 1994). But here is precisely where the conceptual elisions of Mudimbe's epistemological territorytake place.can Junker'sdescriptionof a pygmy. There are of course other readings and argumentsin Mudimbe'srich study. Seligman's ideological legacy among his Africanist progeny seems merely nominal.head shape. quoted in Seligman (1966) above.andcertaincharacters the face. with the classification of racial types (Bushmen.580 APTER tic systems. be easily dismissed as a relic of an earlierideology. or does its ruptureinto Seligman's discussion representa deeper subtext in Africanist ethnographythat remainshiddenby various mutationsand guises to this day? On the surface.economy. 1981) on social dynamics and ritualmediations. and Turner(1969. and Semites) informing the distributionof tribes and traditions. How is it possible that a book entitledRaces of Africa.g. There is no question that Seligman's studentsand colleagues working in Africa disavowed such subsumptions on political and intellectual grounds. Mudimbe(1988:186) locates them within "a Westernepistemological territory" where they remaincolonized and thus beyond adequaterepresentation and understanding. togetherwith their writings in an expandedbibliography. not to mention African intellectualswho remainunwittingheirs to a colonial "philosophy of conquest" (Mudimbe 1988:69). Hamites. the critique extends beyond ethnophilosophy as such to embrace virtually all Africanist ethnography. and culturaldomains form an integratedwhole. .

and hence less advanced or capableof civilization. Lurking beneaththe genealogical andpolitical morphologiesandtypologies was an evolutionary assumption. Pels 1996). does the logic of racialization constitute the imperial palimpsest of modem Africanist research? Supporting evidence for this radical thesis illustrates how implicit imperial/colonial logics and categories have been imposed on Africa and interpolated back into the precolonialpast. replacing diffusionist and evolutionary origins with the more rigorous concept of "social function" (Radcliffe-Brown 1952:3. supportingimperial ideas of racial difference.e. that acephalous societies like the Tallensi. more strongly associatedwith Britishfunctionalismand indirectrule (Kuklick 1984. but methodological stricturesnotwithstanding. ANTHROPOLOGY EMPIRE.evolutionarythinkingand its hiddenracialassumptionswere not so easily transcended. and even implicit racializingof imperialscience at large?Like Junker'spygmy breakinginto Seligman's text. 12-14). but-as Fabian (1983) arguedwith respect to the anthropologicalobject of knowledge at large-their societies were not only frozen in time. Lee & Devore 1976)." It was not until Wilmsen's definitive analysis of such images and ideologies againstthe historicalconditions of Kalaharipolitical economy-based on archeological. Nuer. but also by cultural anthropologists like Sahlins (1972:1-39). or Tiv were structurallymore primitive than the centralized "states"that formedprecolonialkingdoms and empires. This has occurredin two relatedregistersthat can be crudely labeled narrativeand also provided the working guidelines for colonial officers and government anthropologistsfollowing Lugard's(1965) "dualmandate"in Africa-the uplifting of native peoples according to their natural (i. still difficult to exorcise. but here we focus on those colonial categories that were imposed on Africans in the .AFRICA. whose enduringimage as stone-age huntersand gatherersprovidinga living museum of minimal society has been perpetuatednot only by culturalecologists and materialists (Lee 1979. destiny. In the more "inventive"registerof reificationmentionedabove. who found in Bushmen "bands"a paleolithic parableof "the original affluent society. archival. and socioeconomic data of ancient traderoutes and modernrelations of production-that the myth of the Bushmen could be explained and debunkedas a modem fiction projected back in time (Wilmsen 1989). essentializing. the challenge posed by functionalismto evolutionarythinking could be developed by "purescholars"unfetteredby policy (and funded by the Rockefeller Foundationthroughthe IAI). Functionalists could jettison pseudo-historical speculations about the undocumentedhistories of African peoples. If evolutionism served as the dominant narrativeparadigmin Victorian anthropology(Stocking 1987. racial) capabilities while benefitting commerce and industryat home (Kuklick 1991). The tenacityof such chronotopicdisplacementsis most clearly illustratedby the so-called Bushmenor San-speakingpeoples of southern Africa. and hierarchy. they also functionedimplicitly as living relics of the past. Within this British African context. we find a variety of innovationsand transformations ranging from imperialpageants to customarylaw (Ranger 1983). We returnto this range in due course. Brantlinger 1986). 581 has it not endorsedthe fundamentalobjectifying.

is Fortes & Evans-Pritchard the significance of the role played by kinshipand descent in establishingthe a priori frameworkof tribal structureand its "comparativemorphology"(RadcliffeBrown 1952:195). andan establishedcommon law. Refining the racial thinking common in German believed thatevery Africanbelonged to a tribe.Rangershows how the essentializedunits of indirectruleretaineda racial inflection:"Thenotion of the tribelay at the heartof indirect rule in Tanganyika.. and genealogical method...As Ranger (1983:250) writes. But these more historically situated approachesto the codifying forms and functions of colonial govemmentality in Africa do not necessarily vitiate Mudimbe's radical critique and may in fact extend it to the very methods and models of scientific anthropology operatingat the time.. but it was the shifting sand on which Cameron and his disciples erected indirectruleby 'takingthe tribalunit. Similarly. Less obvious.just as every times. I suggest that the racial dimensions of Victorian evolutionism and imperialpseudo-science slipped into the functionalists' obsession with kinship.customarypolitical structure.' They had the power and createdthe politiof cal geography"(see Ranger 1983:250).' Their political and social systems rested on kinship.. (1940).a single social system. and more important the dialectical character of the inventions themselves. and even if quesof tions remainconcerningthe representativeness the Tanganyikancase."Quoting Iliffe (1979:323-24) on the creaall inventedby tion of tribesin colonial Tanganyika. Amselle (1998) examines the "hardeningof identities"by colonial policy ratherthan their invention tout court. the example illustratesthe implicit racial logic of tribal organizationand classification as it was framedby colonialism and interpolated into the past. but fixed flexible principles into writtenstatutesthatwere applied in the name of the chiefs and their traditions. colonial codification. As unusuallywell-informed officials knew. thereby effecting a hidden transformationof "traditionallaw" itself (Chanock 1985. Of course customarylaw was not inventedex nihilo. administrators Europeanbelonged to a nation. descent. No strongerdemonstration Mudimbe's thesis regardingthe colonial invention of Africa can be found. Whatwas called customary and so on. Following the Tanganyikanexample of Iliffe (1979). its German colonial legacy. Despite the explicit disavowal by Radcliffe-Brown(1952) of conjecturalhistory in favor of social functionand-more to the point-his rejectionof biological for social kin- . "The most far-reaching inventionsof traditionin colonial Africa took place when the Europeansbelieved themselves to be respectingage-old African custom. customaryland-rights. however. Mann & Roberts 1991). developing a more accurateperspective in which "Africa is the joint invention of Africans and Europeans"(Amselle 1998:xv). this stereotypebore little relationto Tanganyika'skaleidoscopic history. Tribeswere seen as culturalunits 'possessing a common language. It takes no major effort to see the formal similarities units of indirectrule and the ethnographicclassificabetween the administrative tions of Hailey (1957) and of the classics by Radcliffe-Brown & Forde (1950). Different tribes were related genealogically. where in a sense. Tribalmembershipwas hereditary.582 APTER name of local tradition. were in fact law. and Forde (1954).. function followed not only structurebut also form.

and even revealing its face in such unguardedmoments as when Fortes (1969:309) proclaims: "I regard it as now established that the elementary components of patrifiliation and matrifiliation. White 1995). Fanon 1967:121-45. and cognatic modes of reckoningkinship are.AFRICA.masquerading beneaththe axiom of amity of Fortes(1969). and the argumentcan be illustratedhistorically in relation to travel narrative. Fabian 1986. Thornton 1983. enatic. 1994) in a particular directionto illustrate how a putatively precolonial and hence traditionalAfrica has been invented by colonial structuresand categories. this view "comes dangerously close to reintroducingthe confusion between biology and kinship. Cocks (1995).missionary discourse. THE CRITIQUEOF PURECOLONIALISM I have pushed Mudimbe'sthesis (1988. 1942) criticism of the "native problem" as a case in point. Not only does the physiological model the social for Radcliffe-Brown (1952:188-204). infusing the extensionist thesis. it also hides within the generative matrix of kinship and the social order.ANTHROPOLOGY 583 ship. Goody's (1995) somewhat ramblingdefense of Africanist anthropologyagainst colonial critique takes great pains to show how the non-British funding sources and nationalitiesof many Africanistsinsulatedthe discipline from imperialinflu- . but it need not and in fact should not be seen contra his position. I attempta synthesis of what otherwise look like counter-arguments. The thesis contains a powerful critique of anthropologicalreason in Africa. but to show that the imperialpalimpsest survives in the most unexpectedplaces and informsthe ethnographicreifications of an Africa observed. Forster (1994) demonstrates a link between functionalism and the cultural nationalism of Kenyatta and Banda. EMPIRE. forms of racial reasoning remainedembedded in biological metaphorsand matrices. and cartographyas well as ethnographyper se (Comaroff & Comaroff 1992. colonial medicine." As Smith (1973:122) observed. and hence of agnatic. Noyes 1994."Does it not in fact representJunker'spygmy popping up like ajack-in-the-boxfromthe depthsof Fortes' text? If it does. focusing on Wilson's (1941. In what follows. language standardization. shows how the rhetoricof science could be invoked to undo as well as uphold colonial policy. Hunt 1997. Dialogics The simplest alternativesto the radicalreductionsof Mudimbe (1988) belong to those studies that complicate the hegemonic picture with a range of ambiguous and ambivalentvoices found within the colonizing discoursesthemselves. for example. like genes in the individual organism invariably present in all familial systems. I signpost a literaturethat might appearto "refute"Mudimbe's epistemological reductions of Africanist anthropology to colonial discourse. In this section. this is not to discreditFortes' undeniableinsights and achievementsin Africanistethnography and kinship studies (Goody 1995).

how they become social facts. rehearsaland performanceof a play that developed in direct response to questions he asked about the saying "Le pouvoir se mange entier. Barber 1991.direction. Zaire. neitherwas it monologic. Extendingthe ethnography of speakingand performingto creatingand fashioningthroughsocial praxis. Withinthis dialogical mode of capturingthe colonial situationand its legacy in Africa. The strengthof such perspectives is that they put Mudimbe's principles into historical practice. Studiesof resistancehave redefinedvariouscolonial situations(includingpatriarchal and neocolonial domination)as a dialogical encounterranging from poetic and propheticvoices of self-expression and empowerment(Abu-Lughod 1986. Fabian's ethnographyand the play thatit in effect coproducedemerge as partof a larger communicative interactionwithin an evolving frameworkof historical. which followed Mudimbe(1988) and Wilmsen (1989) in winning the Herskovits Award. perhaps most important. Fabian (1990) produceda critical ethnographyof a theatricalperformancein which the anthropologistplayed a "leading" role. andculturalmeanings. seeking pristine models of precolonial systems. two "philological"approachesto the productionof ethnographictexts establisha way of writingwithin andbeyond the constraintsof Africanistdiscourse.the ManchesterSchool had focused on the social dynamicsof colonial transformationsand dislocations in both town and country since the 1950s (Werbner1984). If hegemonic discourse was not exactly monolithic.Power is eaten whole" (Fabian 1990:3).extendingfromexplicitly discursive speech-genresand ritual languages what we might call the study of critical locutions in Africa (Apter 1992a.Fabiananswersthe challenge of reflexive anthropologywithout falling into self-serving solipsism because he . a perspectiveparalleledby Balandier's"sociologie actuelle" of the "colonial situation"(Balandier 1966." Nor did anthropologistsof Africa remain obsessed with the primitive. 1998a. These studies have developed frameworksfor analyzing the dialogics of colonial discourse within localized political fields. Lambek 1993) to the mimetic appropriation 1993) and political negotiation of colonial power and authorityby socially situated actors. Boddy 1989. Fabian documentedthe production. Working with a popular acting troupe in Shaba. (Stoller 1995. political. to redefine gender preventthe erosion of gerontocraticauthorityby wage-laboringyouth. Kramer Irvine 1993. Fernandez 1982. We can now read Junker'spygmy not simply as a relic of imperialracism but as the paradigmatic subalternvoice. In Britain. MacGaffey 1983) to signifying practices in both ritual(Comaroff 1985) and armedstruggle(Lan 1985). commentingon the idiocy of imperialauthorityand anthropometry through a form of mimicry in which the master becomes the fool (Bhabha 1997). Finnegan 1969. 1970) in FrancophoneAfrica. also revealing how anthropologists like Fortes were suspiciously regarded as "Jews" and/or "Reds. revealing that the fictions and inventions of colonial discourse and power are indeed social facts and. Such "dialogues"takemany forms.To a certainextent. An important essay by Ranger (1983) discusses how Africans manipulated"inventedcustom"to promotea nationalculture.584 APTER ence and control. In a bold experimentalinitiative. or simply to aggrandizepolitical power.

examining the textual production of "tribal"traditions in terms of "the complex interplay of colonizing and resisting strategies and the hybrid co-productionof knowledge which results from it" (Pels 1994:345). Distinguishing three phases of these processes the pre'terrainof power relationships in the field.complicate the colonial picture on both sides of the imperialdivide. What is salutary in this attempt. not at the preservationof assumed wholes" (Pels 1994:339). introducinga more socially groundedappreciationof how colonial inventions of Africa have been coproduced to become socioculturalrealities. the latter"aimedat the selection and transformation of assumed parts of social practice.however. Not only does comparisonof these genres. From this more object- . Turninganthropologyon its own imperialcultureintroducesa measure of reflexivity that. although many of the middle chapters-recording rehearsal takes verbatim make for tedious reading. At the very least. and in some cases even nationalized throughprocesses of ethnographicwriting and representation. Africanized. and the "writingup" of field notes into the ethnographictraditionsof ethnographictexts-Pels reveals and significant differences between administrative missionarymethods and genres. in that the object of ethnographicknowledge as a meaning-makingactivity is framed by its own textual history. magic. underscores them with self-conscious recognition. Whereasthe formerinventedtribalhistories and chiefs within a "pidginpolitics that kept the Realpolitik of Lugurubig men and lineages out of bureaucratic procedure"(Pels 1994:336). focusing on life cycles. and culturecan be seen as an advantageratherthana liability. the "ethnographicoccasion" or socially organized encounter between observing ethnographerand natives observed. its location within the largercontexts of imperialpolitics.Whateverweight we may attributeto the role of anthropologyas such in colonizing Africa."andhow these facts subsequentlycircuthe lated to serve the interestsand agendas of colonizers and colonized alike. far from undermining the discipline's knowledge claims. but not of which. Dialectics The colonial libraryacquires a new significance within such a philological turn. and healing. cf Goody 1995:191-208) to trivial (Asad 1991:315). At issue is not whether the colonial figures and categories of Africanist discourse should be (or ever could be) abandoned. it shows how the pre'terrainshaped ethnographicencounters that in turn overdetermined ethnographic"facts. he remains the author.ANTHROPOLOGY 585 incorporateshis interlocutorsinto a performanceabout which. science. he has extendedthis approachto Zairianpainting and historical consciousness (Fabian 1996). is how philology recapitulatesepistemology.but how they have been indigenized. taken as processes of textual production. but more important. ranging from considerable (Kuklick 1991. Pels (1994) has appliedsimilarphilological concernsto the productionof missionary and administrativeethnographiesin the Uluguru mountains of (then) Eastern Tanganyika. Most recently. economy. EMPIRE. Fabian has blazed a path between the historic hegemony of imperialpositivism and the self-centeredpenitence of ethnography "degree zero" to say something interestingabout popularperformanceand consciousness in postcolonial Zaire.AFRICA.

revealing female visions and voices that tell anotherstory of empire behind the scenes (see also Kirk-Greene 1985). installation ceremonies."the latogy of colonial representation is elaboratedin an importantcollection by Hansen (1992). illuminatinghow a visual ontolvalued the exhibition above the "original.staged arrivalsand departures. as centers and peripheriesdeveloped historically and dialectically. architecture space. Silverman 1977). colonial anthropologyhas given rise to an anthropologyof colonialism. If the formertheme is brilliantlydeveloped in Mitchell's (1991) analysis of imperialspectacle. Hinsley 1991. White 1990. In brief. for example. Leprun 1986. Greenhalgh 1988. Callaway's study represents one of the first systematic anthropological approaches to social distinctions and practices among Europeans in Africa.a growingbody of scholarshiphas emergedto illuminatethe development of imperial cultures and their political configurationsin the colonies. Callaway brings together insights on "the theatre of empire" (1987:55)-like the durbar. Key texts that chartthe course of this development (Callaway 1987. One of the major themes emerging from this literatureis how the politics of imperial culturein Africa belonged part and parcel to politics in the metropoles. Wildenthal 1997). consumption and accumulation. Hunt 1997. Rasool & Witz 1993. which reveals how ter gender. This perspective is important not only of because it explains how the "trappings" power were central to establishing colonial authority. Imperial Spectacle If research on colonial expositions and industrialworld's fairs has blossomed over the past two decades.but because it highlights the dynamics of domesticity in colonial life before and after the war. 1997. 1992. 1995. 1992. diet andhygiene. 1997) are complemented by work on imperial ritual and colonial optics (Coombes 1994. 1993. Celik 1992. recent studies have begun to unpackthe "dia- .586 APTER orientedperspective. Rydell 1984. Edwards 1992). more quotidianroutinesof dining and dressing-with the renegotiationof gender roles and relations both within and between Europeanand African social categories. and class were historicallyreconfiguredby ideologies and practices and of domesticity that include "laborand time. male fantasies of heroic conquest. McClintock 1995. Geary 1988. These and othernumerousstudies of colonial culturesand encountersin Africa engage a vast historicalandtheoretiposical territory thatcan be characterized with referenceto certainparadigmatic tions and breakthroughs research. Cooper & Stoler 1997. and sexuality andgender" (Hansen 1992:5. Comaroff& Comaroff 1991. Mitchell 1991. Bennett 1996. Hansen 1989.In a study of Europeanwomen in Colonial in Nigeria. enhancingfemale professional autonomyamong the formerwhile diminishingit among the latter. Empire Day and parades. see also Hansen 1989.Developing a nuancednotion of imperialculturethatincludes official ideologies of gender and race. This theme breaks down into two significant variations: imperial spectacle and colonial conversions. revealing how spectaculardisplays of commodities and racial hierarchies representedthe imperial order of things (Benedict 1983.race. Corbey 1993.body andclothing. Celik & Kinney 1990. and the political cosmology of lived space.

AFRICA. he identifies a revealing optical illusion whereby an exhibitedEgypt producedin the West became more real and authenticthan the land and people themselves. the grand era of colonial expositions. the state is not assumed in advance or taken whole. Geary 1988. We know. it emerges from representational technologies and practices into an institutionally reified "domain. literally and figuratively staged Europe's civilizing mission in Africa.They also redirecteddidacticattentionto mater- . Faris 1992. producing knowledge of the territoriesfor domestic consumptionwhile exportingmodels of trusteeshipand enlightenmentabroad. by way of explicit contrastsbetween civilization and barbarismas well as by the implicit assimilation of "the savage within" (Kuklick 1991).One implication is that imperial spectacles at home assume an active role in the constructionof colonial overrule. EMPIRE. from London's CrystalPalace of 1851 to the Exposition Coloniale Internationale of Paris in 1931. Vansina 1992."This insight helps us rethinkthe status of civil society in postcolonial Africa (see below). Bringing the rise of professionalanthropology-including theories of evolution and degeneration-to bear on popular forms of ethnographicdisplay as well as on questions of aesthetics and cultural value. From this perspective. As two further"breakthrough" studies reveal. ANTHROPOLOGY 587 lectics of seeing" (Buck-Morss 1991) in relationto commodity fetishism and its value forms.not as supportiveprops or legitimating ideologies but as framingdevices whereby models andplans become political realities with perceived truth-effects. even publishingvoluminous ethnographies for such events to educate the public and ratify its progressive place in the world.A second implicationis that such "techniquesof the observer" (Crary 1990) produce the very split between colonial state and society. and it is relevantfor understanding how inventionsof Africa became African realities. Prins 1992). This inversion of simulacrumand original-a kind of commodity fetish writ largehas profound implications for understandingcolonial power and statecraft." Here Mitchell in (1991) achieves an importantbreakthrough analyzing colonial power and representation. Indeed. they also spoke to an ontological transformationof "the real. for instance. one thatbegins as an internaldistinctionand develops into an externalboundary. Nor were such displays directedexclusively to a nationalpublic sphere. inventions of Africa became European realities within Britain and France as well. We can also appreciatehow the metropolitancenters remade themselves in the images of their colonized others. Coombes (1994) examines the relationshipof "scientific" and popularknowledge of Africa to ideologies of race and nationalculture within Britain(for the politics of the camera.see also Street 1992. Coombes argues that museums and exhibitions became temples and spectacles of empirethatremadethe British nation and its various publics throughthe images and objects of its African others.thatanthropologistswere consultedto showcase scientific knowledge in native displays. In a landmarkstudy of museum displays as well as regional and national exhibitions in Late Victorian and EdwardianEngland. such connections were not limited to materialinterest and strategicintent.Beginning with Egypt at the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris.But if Europeancenters and their African colonies were so intimatelyimbricatedin each other's images.

Examiningthe colonial exposition as "thesimulacrumof greaterFrance.religious.but dynamically. not through endless mechanical reproduction. Focusing on Tswana encountersca 1820-1920 with non-conformistChristianmissionaries in South Afof rica.recalling their own apprenticeships Gascons or Bretons. Moreover. andnationaldifferences and discriminationsof "sexuality and sentiment"(Cooper & Stoler 1997:26) forming an emergentimperialcultureat large. It is within this contrapuntaldevelopment of professional knowledge and popularimagination.Crucialto theiranalysis in this volume is a model of how hegemony and ideology seen as two ends of a continuum operatereciprocallywithin a culturalfield. the class-race axis was furthertransposedinto gender. within the shifting boundariesand policies of nation and empire. imperial discourses and spectacles of Africa defined centers and peripheries. in relation to shifting align- . Althoughmore global in its imperial scope.showing how the "colonizationof consciousness" throughreligious rhetoricand quotidianreform led to the "consciousness of colonization" ranging from embodied poetics to overt political struggle."Lebovics (1992:67) arguesthat it not only promotedan imperialconsciousness and a new sense of nationalidentityat home. Lebovics (1992) reveals a similar dialectic at work in France. If Europeanclass relations were mappedonto race relations abroad. bringing implicit culturalform (which remainsunconscious or dimly apprehended)and more explicit meaning or content (more consciously grasped) to bear on the symbolic and materialproductionof the social world. Here is where historical anthropologyand anthropologicalhistory converge.projectingthe dislocations of the industrialrevolutiononto the savageryand heathenismof the darkcontinent. Colonial Conversions Understoodas a mode of objectificationandeven fetishism grounded in colonial relations of production (McClintock 1995). in that following the insight of Mitchell (1991) the simulacrumsurpasses the original within the political ontology of imperialspectacle. That this ideal divergeddramaticallyfromthe realities of racismand corvee laborneed not disruptthe truth-effectsof the governingdiscourse. as on the otherEuropeanFrench. it also produced "a governing ideal" that recognized "the wrapping of cultures in arounda Frenchcore as a kind of mutualapprenticeship citizenship:on the one side natives learningto be Frenchwhile of course retainingtheir local customs. class differencesat home were increasinglycast in racialtermsas well. and the grammarof its selections and substitutionsset into historicalmotion. relatingdebates and divisions between physical anthropologistsand ethnologists to the location of Africans. and indeed Franks and Gauls. throughthe cameraobscuraof class.of Britishracial and culturalunification and African racial and cultural classification. learning to welcome the new French" (Lebovics 1992:79). Comaroff& Comaroff(1991) wrote a nuancedhistoricalethnography the culturalforms of conversion and domination.588 APTER nal andwifely obligationsin the privatesphereby invokingthe Africanwoman as an object lesson against "feminist tendencies amongst white British women" (Coombes 1994:99-100).citizens and subjects(Mandami1996). that the categories of Mudimbe's colonial library were forged and refined.

" the commodified forms and signs of salvation. Focusing on "the deconstructionof Anthropology with reference to the excolonial world. throughits imposition on the Tswana."Mafeje (1998: 1) makes the case thatwhateverthe pretentionsof . and custom thatthe Tswanathemselves came to recognize and appropriate(for a comparable dialectic in colonial Tanganyika.reifying a Tswana culture of language. the latterbeing perceived for the firsttime as a systemof practices"(Comaroff& Comaroff 1991:212).the moralandmaterial "currenciesof conversion.bourgeois self-fashioning. the recasting of public andprivatedomains. and the emergingracial and gender ideologies thatcharacterizea bourgeois modernitynot simply imposed or resisted but reciprocallydeterminedby the imperial center and its colonial frontier. see Pels 1999). In more historicalterms.AFRICA.thereby accounting for how they responded. law. In Comaroff& Comaroff (1997).where the "dangerous classes" andtheirsqualidslums would be tamed and cleansed by enlightenedsocial policy.does it have a place in postcolonial Africa? NOTESFROMTHE POSTCOLONY For Mafeje (1998) it does not. If this method works for historical anthropology. Mafeje condemns the discipline to at best-entropic death. Here we see how the colonial encounterproducedthe very opposition that more conventional anthropologyand historiographypresupposes.the study shows how the class position of the Wesleyan missionarieson the "social margins"of bourgeois Britainengendered (in both senses of the term) a pastoralvision of the African landscapeand the cultivation of its gardensand souls. ANTHROPOLOGY EMPIRE. these themes are extended and expandedto the reorderingof public space througharchitectureand town planning (see also Wright 1997). placing them at odds with dominantfactions of the colonial elite (Stoler & Cooper 1997:27) and graduallygiving rise. this strongly principled attack represents the most recent version of Mudimbe's more scholastic challenge.Coming from a classically trainedsocial anthropologist who produced one of the first critiques of the ideology of tribalism(Mafeje 1971). In a damning indictmentof all major attemptsto reinvent anthropologyfor a postcolonial Africa. 589 ments and struggles.rangingfrom strugglesover space andtime to strugglesover words and a growing "sense of opposition between sekgoa (Europeanways) and setswana (Tswanaways).Comaroff& Comaroff (1992) relate evangelical models of bodily and household reform-promoting nuclear homes for the more cultivated Tswana Christians to the politics of domestic reformin Britain.One of the strengthsof this formulationis thatit opens up the gray areabetween dominationand resistance in the ambivalentand hybridterms with which Tswana experienced the colonial encounter. Within the broaderdialectics of center and periphery.In a methodological shift that resembles the critical optics of Mitchell (1991) by revealing how internaldistinctions materialize into the externalboundariesof social orderand meaningful space. inviting a serious response. the Comaroffs solve the problem of the colonial libraryby taking the developmentof its genres and categories into ethnographicaccount.

Ba-Tutsi. ethnographyis an end productof social texts authored by the people themselves. make their meaning apparentor understandableto me as an interlocutoror [?] the 'other. Clifford & Marcus 1986. There are several ironies in this revisionist reversal of an ethnographywithout anthropology.' What I convey to my fellow-social scientists is studied and sysof tematised interpretations existing but hidden knowledge" (Mafeje 1998:37).Ba-Hindi. not least of which is the nearly full-circle return to Mudimbe's model of gnosis-the hidden knowledge produced by the other and revealed by the ethnographer-that characterizedthe ethnophilosophicalillusion of the colonial library. Ba-Ganda. Mafeje (1991) proposes a way out of the anthropologicaldouble bind by replacing the anthropologicalconcepts of "society" and "culture"with revised concepts of "social formation"and "ethnography. Scholte 1974. But what is of interestare the philological dimensions of Mafeje's solution and its logic of indigenization..590 APTER liberal apologists and revisionists from "the North.It is up to the social of scientist to relate the "ethnography" native (and nativist) discourse to the historical dynamicsof the social formation. etc." African scholars today should dispense with the discipline.and in the culturaldomain of what he now calls ethnography. Moore 1994)."a move thatbrings politics into the "base"to recast "kingdoms"more historicallyin relationto colonialism. Such a perspective is useful if not entirelyoriginal. referring to those texts authoredby the people themselves in the course of their social struggles and identity politics. Comaroff& Comaroff 1992.Like MonsieurJourdainwith his prose. From this perspective. efforts to develop an adequate postcolonial anthropology (Asad 1973. Briefly stated." social formation. but more unusual is his notion of ethnography. But his solutions underscore a more general process of indigenizing the ghosts of colonialism in Africa under the guise of decolonization.given studies of culturalethnogenesisas a historical and sociopolitical process (Amselle 1985. Hymes 1974. Peel 1989). as well as the rules of social discourse underlyingsuch textual production. but what they were actually doing in their attemptsto assert themselves" (Mafeje 1998:36).andthus to disclose its "hidden"significance: "As I conceive of it.Mafeje By departsfrom standardMarxianmodes of articulationto specify "the articulation of the economic instance and the instance of power. Caughtin the doublebind of eitherreproducing colonial reifications or losing the ethnographic referent in self-reflexive confusion. Ba-Hutu. Mafeje's dismissal of Africanist anthropologyas inseparable from the colonial politics of knowledge actually relocates it in the historicalterrain [orpreerrain (Pels 1994)] of the social formation. Mafeje (1998:37) actually cites Griaule for establishing an appropriate methodologicalprecedentfor his ethnographicelicitations. what mattersis "notwhich people were called Ba-Nyoro. All I do is to study the texts so that I can decode them. Africans now learn that they have been speaking ethnography all of their lives! . and at times excoriating. Mafeje is also hardon his African colleagues who seek refuge in development or alternativesin feminism or unmodified Marxism. anthropologyhas become a lost cause for postcolonial African scholars. Reviewing.

Pan-Africanism(Thompson 1974. Explicitly erased.such as FESTAC's festivals and Mafeje's nonanthropologi- . Junker's pygmy is still clowning arounddespite the most vigilant efforts to exorcise his ghost. or written accounts. For example. What we find behind different strategiesof culturalproductionand recuperationis the indigenizationof colonial cultureitself. participantobservation. Here we see in reverse. What is interesting anthropologicallyis how the very decolonizationof culturaltraditionbased on the rejection of imperialismproclaimedby FESTAC involved the nationalizationof colonial traditionby the postcolonial state. My meta-critiqueof Mafeje (1998). suggests thatwe pay close ethnographicattentionto what goes on underthe guise of culturaldecolonization. embracing both the explicit enunciations of ethnic identity politics and the implicit grammarsof their production. but that it cannot be accomplished by simple negation. EMPIRE. as it were.And it is at these deeper levels of discursive and textual productionthat something between a social formation and an invented ethnic identity namely culture resides. the durbar ceremonycelebratedwith such fanfarein Nigeria during FESTAC '77 (the Second WorldBlack and African Festival of Arts and Culture) actually reproduceda centralritualof colonial overrulethat had developed in Indiaand was adaptedby Lugardto northerm Nigerian conditionsand practices (Apter 1999). and even ritualsof incorporation become Africanized as local. such thatits structures. 1991). the colonial palimpsest in postcolonial Africa. to underscoretheir but historical development as rituals of colonial subjugation. or Africanpersonality or consciencism (Nkrumah1970) and summarizedsuccinctly by Ngugi (1986). recordings. Padmore1971). which colonial durbarsappropriated. Diop 1987. ANTHROPOLOGY 591 Whethergenerated"throughconversation. regional. or through Griauleor Dumont did. By takingthe anthropologicalconcept of cultureout of ethnography. the paradigmmaintainsthattrueliberationfrom colonial andneocolonial domination requires a "culturaldecolonization [which] has yet to be accomplished" (Stoler & Cooper 1997:33). like thejafi salute. This is not to deny the indigenous dimensions of Nigerian durbars. such traditionsas the durbarand regattawere indigenized throughthe very festivals and ministries that objectified culture for citizens and tourists (for a Francophoneexample of this process. however. artistic expressions. categories. is immaterial. see Austen 1992)."Mafeje (1998:37) maintains. Variously representedby negritude (Senghor 1964. Ratherit is accomplishedhistoricallyby the very processes of indigenization and nationalization.But is it really? Has not the colonial palimpsest of the culture concept slipped into the native voice underthe sign of its erasure?Mafeje has indigenized the concept of culture by displacing it into a textual model that actually remains complex. oral traditions.the resulting social science is cleansed of its colonial accretions. My point is not that culturaldecolonization has yet to be accomplished.because these discourses constitute prima facie knowledge production as ethnographic texts unto themselves. national.AFRICA. Mafeje's argumentis particularlyinterestingbecause it representsa philological variationof the decolonization paradigmin African studies and culturalproduction. Esedebe 1982. mirroringanthropologicalhistory in its spectacular productionsof a precolonial past.or even Pan-Africantraditions.

.1997.What is so remarkableaboutJunker'sheads is but not just the cavalier violence of their collection and preparation. I had merely given a generalorderto procurebleached skulls. Cooper 1994. Comaroff& Comaroff 1999. they cannot be forgotten (Trouillot 1995). Returningto Junker'sAfrican exploits. But Zemio's people having once made a raidon some unrulyA-Kahle people. and after my next journey prepared for the collection" (Junker 1892:160-61). there are other relics of an imperialhistory.592 APTER cal anthropology. 1994) is correctin arguingthat this history establishes importantlimits on the practice of Africanist anthropology. shouldthe occasion presentitself.andthe heads not eaten.These heads. less loquacious if no less eloquent than the pygmy at Rumbek. the fact that Junkeractuallytook them home to Europe. however. Werbner& Ranger 1996). Mandani1996. where-for betterand worse-a new realm of res publica was forged that today sets the stage for democratizationand political struggle. providing a dialectical perspective in which imperialcenters and colonial peripheriesdeveloped in reciprocaldetermination. in that the very historical developmentof civility andpublicity in bourgeoisEuropewas partof the "civilizing mission" in Africa. Mudimbe(1988. this approachapplies to studies of civil society and the public sphere in postcolonial Africa as well. Junker'ssketch (Figure 1) adds documentaryforce to this "gruesome gift." ostensibly illustrating African cannibalism and savagery but also implicatingthe Europeanexplorerin the very same crimes-framed by exchange relations and modes of accumulation-which remain the hidden hallmark of anthropology'sheartof darkness. . bearingsilent testimony to Europeancannibalismand savageryin Africa.These collections were now enrichedby the gruesomepresentof a numberof humanheads. CONCLUSION The philological explorationof anthropology'sheart of darknesshas traced the colonial palimpsest in the figure of Junker'spygmy to show that the discipline's imperial history unfolds throughthe very productionof ethnographictexts and cannotbe erased. I had them for the presentburiedin a certain place. Werbner 1998. That is both a process for Africanist anthropologyto study and a practicethat African anthropologistscan more critically pursue. that are buried even deeper in the archives of colonial memory. remindus thatif anthropology's imperial subtexts are to be acknowledged. those who fell were beheaded. Junker (1892) records one appropriately"gruesome" event that he experienced in the service of naturalscience: "I had alreadytaught Dsumbe how to prepare skeletons of mammals. and this work was now again taken in which colonial forms of cultureandknowledge are appropriated and reinscribed by Africans. as is customary.but broughtto me. But when anthropology examines this history. In this respect. as in the work reviewed above.. Describing his travels and tribulations. it deepens our understandingof the colonial encounteritself.As new researchis beginning to reveal (Apter 1998b..

: k " / f oN _ >. z > _s 1|_ * a | 1 =_ lii r............. o8 .: :..... 11-48... ........ - . ... Berkeley: Univ. ... S<is 5.. < -_ _=Ii^*< < t .. . -.. LITERATURE CITED Abu-Lughod L...... x x ZXII L /l* . 1973.... ... .. < __ .......r $... .... :....: * .....A { S : .... 19(1):87-104 Apter A. ... pp..... JL Amselle.....S. ... 1986..... Chicago Press Apter A. - .. NJ: Humanities Asad T.:' ::_ 94E\\<t tsMi \ ss ' { ST..... _. .. ........ .-. .sai t < . ..... !9_ 5_ fE: i572_ m ZJ : r _ E 9\ > WIF l E < !v\ i..... o......C Royal (From French) Apter A. . -_ 1 -e 1E Fr G iFAF^ z.w 'nia # faSC_ <yx-_E v \S. Transl..._..... a N K j . Press Asad _... 121-60.z_ r j re' v .o !' 3 * . iii . Death and the king's henchmen: Ken Saro-Wiwa and the political ecology of citizenship in Nigeria.. . oZo s-^ r _ E ... Calif. Atlantic Highlands. :S:^9iil.... ...... Africa 68(1):68-97 Apter A. Paris:Decourverte Amselle JL.. In Au Coeur de l'Ethnie: Ethnies..... Chicago: Univ.. . ... !_E_... l . ^....FTb .Wiwaand the Crisis in Nigeria... Trenton... Press Amselle JL. .. . Tribalisme et Etat en Afrique.:...}'. m aMd z _: {z n [ z Z _ I _ _1 E C 4 Ex* :: S \ s <. :. N . ' _ . MestizoLogics: Anthropology of Identity in Africa and Elsewhere...... Ar}1S ..ed... . .. . ........ . ... Ethnies et espaces: pour une anthropologie topologique.NJ: Africa Press Int.X........lS_E_.. . c.w. 1999..-... ._} *1 3w.. ... Stanford.. ... ..... ...ANTHROPOLOGY 593 ... __>.. .. ...:. ... ... r : .. 2 o _ *.. ....Inq....::: .. . > 9 hA q b._/56....1 _ _ .g.. !m.. The subvention of tradition:a genealogy of the Nigerian durbar. .. l _ a 9 ii * lSX w l i so>AR fqs_>c \ . ...kUBSOaM. G Steinmetz.... .<_ ... From the history of colonial an- . 1998b... .. .- . .*{ 1 I ... 1992a. Press.. _ v .. ..t..... ...... _ t_ M_ iiiSi^_ | - 1S iI _ l N ..... .. Figure 1 Humanheadsbroughtto Dr... ?_o>e :s* . Discourse and its disclosures: Yoruba women and the sanctity of abuse.... ..t .. 1992b.. ws - Ly .. e . .. _=i_ =z_t 3> Preg[___2> . AR Na'allah... Apter A..... .. R l. pp...'t S %. ed. E M'Bokolo.. JUtlffer {1Q(X. . .... Que faire? Reconsidering inventions of Africa. .....: . NY: Comell Univ... * . ! _ -_ > ...... * 4. | ... 1998... iBE:.. 8 ' k bj'j - e .From for T 1.. Crit.. Veiled Sentiments: Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society... wu .... E a. FWF.u:xh:E ffi@..i ...AFRICA.. Z '.... _ 1 ! Rl __1 - .. :!:... o < ...: : A . ... \AR'Mk# Z _ !!FR! _ Z d _ s _ si a h . . |ilS t >v n 11Ws > . _ ...... 'i49 ............. ....:: ...? >r . >>.. .... ::>. .. e \...G...AnnualReviews..... CA: Stanford Univ. G::X.? :C .. WilhelmJunker his scientificcollection..:. EMPIRE. ... : : :: . X. ......iC. <... .... . bx :_ . m__. =.x. ed.1v(1\ tlw?lUlJ Visit the Annual Reviewshomepage at www. 1991.. :......:: i ^_ 5<<*.. .H^........ 5 . ':s{. _! j s _ / An'"i..... 1985. Anthropologyand the Colonial Encounter.C _...ilF._ { o _ E . W .. . ... In Ogoni 's Agonies: Ken Saro.. pp..... Ithaca. ". In State/Culture: The Study of State Formation After the Cultural Turn... ed... ai ....... .. 1998a. Black Critics and Kings: The Hermeneuticsof Power in YorubaSociety. 213-52.

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