“Returning Life is an outstanding, historically oriented ethnography of Kilimanjaro which shows the life of language in the everyday by focusing on the concreteness of events, persons, and spaces. It is a terrific contribution to anthropological theory and to the bridges between anthropology and philosophy.” · Veena Das, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University.
“Bringing together in perspicuous relation Wittgensteinian and Chagga forms of life, this meticulous work itself reopens and revivifies African ethnography more broadly. A major achievement.” · Michael Lambek, Canada Research Chair, University of Toronto.
A group of Chagga-speaking men descend the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro to butcher animals and pour milk, beer, and blood on the ground, requesting rain for their continued existence. Returning Life explores how this event engages activities where life force is transferred and transformed to afford and affect beings of different kinds. Historical sources demonstrate how the phenomenon of life force encompasses coffee cash-cropping, Catholic Christianity, and colonial and post-colonial rule, and features in cognate languages from throughout the area. As this vivid ethnography explores how life projects through beings of different kinds, it brings to life concepts and practices that extend through time and space, transcending established analytics.
Knut Christian Myhre is a senior researcher in the Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo. He is the editor of Cutting and Connecting: ‘Afrinesian’ Perspectives on Networks, Exchange and Relationality (Berghahn 2016) and the author of numerous articles. Myhre has held positions at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), the Nordic Africa Institute, and the University of Oslo.
LC: DT443.3.W33 M94 2017
BL: DRT ELD.DS.238352
BISAC: SOC005000 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Customs & Traditions; SOC002010 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Anthropology/Cultural; SOC042000 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Developing Countries
BIC: JHMC Social & cultural anthropology, ethnography; JHBT Sociology: customs & traditions