Nigeria: Another Geography - Risks To Health As Perceived In A Deep-Rural Environment In Hausaland

Murray Lasta, 2011


The paper describes, for the Hausa farmers of Gidan Jatau in northern Nigeria, the distinct ways in which they see and understand (a) their close and distant environment and (b) their bodies’ anatomy and physiology. These ways result in ‘another geography’ – of both space and being – which, however, may no longer now have the resonance it had in the early 1970s when the author lived in Gidan Jatau for two years as a guest. At that time, the spiritual dimensions of daily life were deemed important to the health and prosperity of each person and to the farmstead as a whole. The argument is made that the urban-centred literature on the bori possession-cult neglects the ordinary, anonymous spirits of house and field. Any serious archaeology of the landscape will need insights into this ‘alternative geography’ if it is truly to ‘read’ a lost countryside from the traces left by its religious past; the paper also explains why some traces, such as shrines, may not be where they are expected to be.


Anthropology & Medicine External link; 18(2): 217 - 229

Map location of Gidan Jatau, Nigeria

Tags: Nigeria  Hausa  environment  health  

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