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The Anthropological LensRethinking E. E. Evans-Pritchard$
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Christopher Morton

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198812913

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198812913.001.0001

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The poet, the missionary, and the sacred spears

The poet, the missionary, and the sacred spears

(p.196) 8 The poet, the missionary, and the sacred spears
The Anthropological Lens

Christopher Morton

Oxford University Press

Chapter 8 explores Evans-Pritchard’s Kenyan Luo fieldwork and photography, and in particular the fascinating insight it provides into the role of Walter E. Owen (1879–1945), a significant missionary figure in the region. As Evans-Pritchard notes, his survey was made possible by the local knowledge and networks already established by Owen, and the cooperation of local Luo people came about largely out of their high regard for him. The chapter argues that what is most striking about Evans-Pritchard’s record of his relatively short six-week visit to Nyanza in 1936 is his readiness to photograph Luo people as he found them, mostly in Western dress. The photographic record provides a counterpoint to his written account of the visit, Luo Tribes and Clans (1949), which pays almost no attention to colonial influences on Luo social life or political organization.

Keywords:   missions, Kenya, Luo people, tribal heirlooms, archaeology, cultural change

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