Conversations with the Anuak
This chapter explores Evans-Pritchard’s two and a half months’ fieldwork among the Anuak in 1935 when he believed no further opportunity to return to the Nuer might be possible, and after his planned trip to Ethiopia was aborted due to the invasion of the country by Italian forces. In Anuak country he walked 400–500 miles along the Akobo River, taking over 200 photographs and assembling a substantial artefact collection. The chapter engages with Geertz’s theme of Evans-Pritchard’s literary ‘optical idiom’ by comparing Evans-Pritchard’s photography with his anthropological writings on the Anuak. The analysis reveals a completely new understanding of the immediate contexts of colonial manipulation among the Anuak leading up to and during his visit in 1935, as rival chiefs were played off against each other by the colonial administration.
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