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Beyond the Royal Gaze

Clanship and Public Healing in Buganda

Neil Kodesh

Publication Year: 2010

Using innovative research strategies from fieldwork to historical linguistics, Kodesh produces a vision of the Ganda past that emphasizes decentralized institutions of "public healing" and supplants the royalist perspective of European documentary sources and histories based on them.

Published by: University of Virginia Press

Cover, Title Page, Copyright

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p. vii

List of Illustrations

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p. viii

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pp. ix-xi

The difficult work of building communities, and the benefits derived from participating in such endeavors, lies at the heart of this book. Baganda long ago recognized the relationship between individual and community...

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A Note on Ganda Names

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p. xiii

Most full Ganda names usually include a Christian or Muslim name, a clan name, and a family name. These names are preceded, when appropriate, by an honorific title such...

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1. Public Healing, Political Complexity, and the Production of Knowledge

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pp. 1-26

‘‘That is where we gather to beat the drums and call the spirits,’’ explained Ssalongo Benedicto Walusimbi, a healer and prominent member of the Civet Cat clan, referring to the sacred site, or kiggwa (pl. biggwa), located on the clan’s principal...

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2. Genre, Historical Imagination, and Early Ganda History

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pp. 27-66

Dynastic accounts of Buganda’s origins revolve around the exploits of Kintu, the purported founder of the kingdom and quintessential Ganda hero. Perhaps the best known of these foundational narratives, ‘‘Kintu and Bemba the Snake,’’ describes...

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3. Clanship and the Pursuit of Collective Well-Being

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pp. 67-97

In the previous chapter I argued that when listened to as an audience seated at a healer’s shrine might have done, the Kintu narratives can be understood as describing a series of changes in the practices of spirit mediumship and the expansion of territorial...

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4. Political Leaders as Public Healers

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pp. 98-130

In this chapter I further explore the relationship between public healing and political authority through an analysis of one of the best-known episodes in the Ganda dynastic narrative: the story of Prince Kimera’s triumphant journey from Bunyoro...

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5. Clanship, State Formation, and the Shifting Contours of Public Healing

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pp. 131-173

The convergence of public healing and political authority discussed in chapters 2–4 compels us to reconsider the process of state formation in Buganda. The gradual emergence of a bureaucratic state apparatus and the militaristic...

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pp. 175-193

In January 2007 I had the unexpected opportunity to return to Uganda for a quick, three-week visit. At the top of my list of people I wanted to contact during this short stay was Morris Ssekintu, a man who had been instrumental in the construction...


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p. 195


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pp. 197-233


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pp. 235-250


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pp. 251-264

E-ISBN-13: 9780813929705
E-ISBN-10: 0813929709
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813929279
Print-ISBN-10: 081392927X

Page Count: 280
Illustrations: 7 maps (7 redacted), 2 tables
Publication Year: 2010

OCLC Number: 760887526
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Beyond the Royal Gaze

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Buganda -- Antiquities.
  • Buganda -- History -- Sources.
  • Buganda -- Social life and customs.
  • Buganda -- Politics and government.
  • Ganda (African people) -- Social life and customs.
  • Healing -- Political aspects -- Uganda -- Buganda -- History.
  • Healing -- Social aspects -- Uganda -- Buganda -- History.
  • Clans -- Uganda -- Buganda -- History.
  • Historical linguistics -- Uganda -- Buganda.
  • Ethnology -- Uganda -- Buganda.
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