Editors: Ian Fowler and David Zeitlyn
The genesis of an idea is often difficult to elicit unambiguously. Much like the foundation of an African chiefdom it may become imbued with a foundation myth. Certainly, many associated with E.M. Chilver have given thought to ways in which her very significant contributions to Cameroon studies might be satisfactorily acknowledged. In the autumn of 1990 the Grassfields Working Group held a session in Oxford organised by E.M. Chilver. Led by Professors Miriam Goheen and Eugenia Shanklin a number of us, notably Shirley Ardener, Claude Tardits, Charles-Henry Pradelles de la Tour, Michael Rowlands and Jean-Pierre Warnier, took this occasion to conspire and Zeitlyn and Fowler were informally appointed to co-ordinate the project. Two of the institutions with which E.M. Chilver was particularly involved, Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford and Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, London, gave generous support to help cover the costs of preparing these publications. The editors, on behalf of the contributors, are pleased to be able to acknowledge our gratitude to them.
In order to thematise what we initially envisaged as a single volume we requested that papers should focus on the convergence of ethnography and history in the field of Cameroonian studies. The extensive and overwhelmingly positive response to our call presented us with the 'problem' of a wealth of riches that could not easily be produced as a single volume. This we have resolved by dividing the papers into three separate sets, each representing a different aspect of Mrs Chilver's interests. One set focuses on contemporary views of the state, its emergence through partition and reunification, the developing role of the chieftaincy, and key issues of gender and accumulation as they have developed in the modern state; another set of papers combine historical and anthropological analyses; and, finally, there are ethnographic accounts of topics such as witchcraft, divination and religion in the Grassfields region of Cameroon.
A set of three collections that have been inspired by the work of Mrs E.M. Chilver, known to many as Sally Chilver 'Mama for Story'.
The project is being published in the following forms:
1) Half of Paideuma (the journal of the Frobenius Institute) for 1995 is devoted to a collection entitled
PERSPECTIVES ON THE STATE:
FROM POLITICAL HISTORY TO ETHNOGRAPHY IN CAMEROON.
ESSAYS FOR SALLY CHILVER
This was published in June 1995 and can be ordered from Franz
Steiner Verlag, Postfach 10 10 61, D-70009 Stuttgrat, Germany. It
costs DM80 plus postage.
2) A volume with the title African Crossroads published by Berghahn, Oxford
3) Special Issue of JASO to be published later in 1996.
With the kind permission of the Editor of Paideuma the full text of this issue of Paideuma is now (December 1999) available online
ISBN 1-57181-859-6 hardback
ISBN 1-57181-926-6 paperback
Published in June 1996
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With the kind permission of Berghahn Books the full text of the Preface, Forward and Introductory Essay have been made available online
Published reviews of African Crossroads
EMail David Zeitlyn
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Jan- August 1996 Last modified May 1999Revised for new host Oct 2012 revised 2 Jan 2018