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The Intestines of the StateYouth, Violence, and Belated Histories in the Cameroon Grassfields$
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Nicolas Argenti

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226026114

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226026138.001.0001

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Masks of Terror and the Subjection of Cadets

Masks of Terror and the Subjection of Cadets

(p.57) Chapter Three Masks of Terror and the Subjection of Cadets
The Intestines of the State
University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines the palace masks of the Cameroon Grassfields, focusing on the four masks belonging to the palace kwifon society in the chiefdom of Oku. It explains that these masks depict fearsome creatures with a redoubtable and excessive tendency to violence, and investigates why such masks can be a source of pleasure and attraction to those who come to see them despite their being universally acknowledged as dangerous, frightening, and repulsive. The chapter also analyzes the witchcraft discourses of the Grassfields in the context of the slave trade, which clearly contributed to their genesis and their present structure.

Keywords:   palace masks, Cameroon Grassfields, kwifon society, Oku chiefdom, witchcraft, slave trade

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