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Asian and African Studies

Volume 25, 2016, No. 1


On My Journey through the Sino-German Literary Interflow.
Marián Gálik

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Sino-German literary interflow, intellectual history, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Friedrich Nietzsche, Rainer Maria Rilke and others

The aim of this essay is to present a history of my reading and studying of literature in German and its reception in China in more than forty five years from 1968 – 2013. It was written as a Preface to the Chinese collection of my works of this kind for the book Cong Gede, Nicai dao Lierke: Zhongde kuawenhua jiaoliu yanjiu 从歌德, 尼采到里尔克: 中德跨文化交流研究 From Goethe, Nietzsche to Rilke: Studies in Sino-German Interliterary Process, to be published in Fujian jiaoyu chubanshe 福建教育出版社, Fuzhou, China in the Zhongde wenhua congshu 中德 文化丛书 Series of Sino-German Culture. It consists of seventeen essays connected with Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Friedrich Nietzsche and the last part analyses Rainer Maria Rilke and other similar themes from the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century.

How to cite:
Gálik, M. . Asian and African Studies, 25(1), 1-16.

Formation of the Independence Party in Post-War Iraq.
R. Sorby Karol

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Iraq during the war, post-war upsurge, formation of political parties, place and programme of the Independence Party, premature liberalisation, liberalism versus reaction

In the post-World War II period, as turbulent times were sweeping the Middle East, the Iraqi political elite became aware that the liberal and moderate nationalists had began to come to the fore in Iraqi politics. The victory of the British Labour Party in the parliamentary elections of 1945 was particularly discussed in political circles in Baghdad. Owing to continued protests made by representatives of various shades of opinion, the regent, motivated principally by political expedience, took the unprecedented step and on 27 December 1945 in front of deputies and senators announced measures to liberalise the political order. He called for the formation of political parties, and promised full freedom for their activities and the inauguration of economic and social reforms. The task was entrusted to Tawfīq as-Suwaydī who brought into his cabinet younger personnel whose political outlook was less inflexible than that of the old politicians. This government was naturally short lived.

How to cite:
Sorby Karol, R. . Asian and African Studies, 25(1), 17-31.

Africans Concept of Masquerades and Their Role in Societal Control and Stability: Some Notes on the Esan People of Southern Nigeria.
Emmanuel Osewe Akubor

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Elimin, Masquerades, spirits, Esan

In every culture there are certain ideas explicit in the interaction of different elements which in turn sometimes act as an instrument of social control with which different cultural segments are held together. Thus, prior to the spread of Islamic and Christian influences, most societies in Africa believed in a complex structure of spirits and ancestors who influenced the living. This was contained in the traditional belief which reflects the wholeness of the universe, i.e., the various elements of which constituted not only the living, but also the dead and spirits. Thus among the Esan, the Erinni (Elimin masquerades) are organic to their myth of creation. In this way, they function as the major stabiliser of the people’s destiny. As far as the people are concerned, they are ancestral spirits who periodically visit their living forebears in masquerade forms. Their visits are regarded as spiritual interventions to the world of the living and as a result are highly venerated. They are a symbolic resurrection of the ancestors. To the Ifeku-Ibaji, Egwu (masquerade) symbolised both the ancestral shrine as well as represented the resurrected spirits of a dead elder, whose appearance and performance played a protective and regulatory role in the affairs of the living. Specifically, it governed the laws which were irrevocable and punishable by death. In the Ejagham society of Cross River, the task of detecting witches and wizards rested with the Echi-Obasi-njom (the masquerade), it usually carried out this function in a wheeling, gliding dance organised by the society. Echi-Obasi-njom was usually accompanied by attendants as it swiftly moved round the settlement in search of witches and wizards in their hide outs. All over Yoruba land, the Egungun represent the spirit of the ancestors who have descended from heaven/ mountains. It celebrates a period when the dead interact with the living, as it is their responsibility to compel the living to uphold the ethical standards of past generations. Data obtained from primary and secondary sources were deployed to carry out the study in an analytical and narrative historical method. Findings indicate that unlike, the neglect of this practice in most societies (especially while the advent of Christianity and Islam), has led to an alarming rise in crime, especially owing to the fact that the present agents of crime control in society have really failed. In most cases, where they acted as reconciliatory agencies, they have ended up creating more conflicts among the people unlike the situation under the traditional masquerade system.

How to cite:
Akubor, E. . Asian and African Studies, 25(1), 32-50.

Power, Church and the Gult System in Gojjam, Ethiopia.
Temesgen Gebeyehu Baye

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church, state, Gult system, Gojjam, Ethiopia

Since the introduction of Christianity to Ethiopia, there had been an interdependence between the state and the church. Both parties benefited from this state of affairs. The Orthodox Church played as the ideological arm of the state. The king became head not only of the state, but also of the church. The church enjoyed royal protection and patronage, ranging in concrete terms like the granting of land, called the gult system. The gult system was an important economic institution and connection between the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the state. The system was essentially a political and economic relations between the state, the church and the cultivators. It not only included tribute and administrative rights, but also entailed direct control over land. In the Ethiopian academics, the issue of the gult system has been treated and examined in its totality. There is an evident gap in our knowledge of the dynamics of the gult system and its ideological, administrative, political and economic implications. This paper, based on published and unpublished materials, examines the dynamics of gult, state and church relations intersectionally. It attempts to identify changes and continuities in the basic pattern of relations and a variety of institutional linkages. To this end, a great deal of archive collections on Gojjam Governorate General from the Ethiopian National Archives and Library Agency has been consulted and reviewed to add new and useful insights and understandings on relations and interests between the cultivators, the church and state. Data was presented and mainly analysed qualitatively.

How to cite:
Baye, T. . Asian and African Studies, 25(1), 51-73.

Revisiting the Effects of Social Change on Indian Female Models in Indira Mahindra’s The End Play.
Lamia Khalil Hammad

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Indian women, social change, ideology, female models, The End Play, Indira Mahindra

This paper discusses how Indira Mahindra’s The End Play (1995) represents the effect of social change on women’s ideology and the society surrounding the sequential female generations – the grandmother, the mother, and granddaughter. Hence, each female character represents a different model, thereby representing its own ideology and social position. The paper also explores the effect of social change in relation to issues such as marriage, work, women’s rights, divorce, betrayal, women’s virginity, and the stereotypical images of women – all of which are related to Indian Feminism. However, before embarking on this discussion, it is vital for this critical investigation to identify the concept of ideology, and feminist theories and movements in India.

How to cite:
Hammad, L. . Asian and African Studies, 25(1), 74-84.

Avoiding Christianity – a Weapon in Educating ‘Savage’ Pastoralists: a Case Study of Nilotic Buradiga in Tanzania.
Emília Bihariová

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Christianity, education, Buradiga, Datoga, pastoralists, savage, missionary, Nilotic

Pastoral Buradiga herders are among the poorest and most vulnerable populations in Tanzania. Like many East African pastoralists Buradiga have become marginalised within the national economy. They are struggling to survive and to retain their traditional lifestyle. Reaching them with formal or informal education has become a major challenge. For the modern Tanzanian society, education is seen as an instrument of transforming pastoralists into settled farmers, labourers, modern livestock producers, and loyal citizens. The education-for-development approaches are accounts of pastoralists’ poverty and assume that education will improve their standard of living. Together with national politics, Christianity/missionaries played, and still play, an important role in influencing pastoralists to change their traditional belief, which is represented by sending children to schools. This paper charts the past and the current (educational) activities of missionaries among pastoralists especially the Datoga clan Buradiga in central Tanzania and the way how the concept of preaching was and is received by them. In particular, the focus is on how Christianity is impacting the abandoning of the traditional way of life in a small Burediga community and subsequent change in approach towards education.

How to cite:
Bihariová, E. . Asian and African Studies, 25(1), 85-105.


Book Review:

A History of Czechoslovak Involvement in Africa. Studies from the Colonial Era through the Soviet Eras .
Martin Pavlík, Edward Schofield

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How to cite:
Pavlík, M, Schofield, E. . Asian and African Studies, 25(1), 106-109.

The Arab Spring. Historical and Cultural Background of Events in the Middle East.
Karol Sorby

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How to cite:
Sorby, K. . Asian and African Studies, 25(1), 110-113.

Iraqi Politics in the Shadow of the Military (1936 – 1941).
Ladislav Drozdík

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How to cite:
Drozdík, L. . Asian and African Studies, 25(1), 113-115.