I knelt on the stiff prayer mat in silence. The keeper of this shrine in southern Togo had asked me to lead prayers and propitiations to the tron (spirits) that morning. I had never before been expected to make formal, public praise to the spirits. I felt unsure and self-conscious. “But I’m Catholic,” I said, lamely attempting to withdraw.
The 2017 Elliott P. Skinner Book Award recipient Yolanda Covington-Ward is the 2017 Elliott P. Skinner Book Award recipient for her book, Gesture and Power: Religion, Nationalism, and Everyday Performance in Congo, published by Duke University Press. Covington-Ward is an associate professor of Africana Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. In Gesture and Power, she […]