But Walker’s thesis was that this progress had come about

But Walker’s thesis was that this progress had come about

12 septiembre, 2013

During the first class session of the class, I show Jean Rouch’s classic ethnographic film on spirit possession Les Maitres Fous (The Crazy Masters [1954]). I ask the students to take notes and pay attention to how the film’s images challenge their beliefs. It is a film that features a set of unforgettably shocking scenes: West Africans in colonial Ghana possessed by “European” spirits (The Governor General, The General of the Red Sea, The Doctor, The Wicked Major, and The Train Engineer). When these “new gods” take the bodies of their mediums, The Crazy Masters, as they are called to mimic colonial officials, shake uncontrollably. They handle fire without burning themselves. Their bulging eyes blaze with intensity. Salvia foams from their mouths as they speak in tongues several West African languages as well as English and French. A dog is sacrificed and The Crazy Masters not only drink its blood but also eat its boiled flesh an unsettling montage of images to say the least!

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