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I could not find a book by a Nigerien author translated into English, so chose to read this one Paul Stoller is an anthropologist who has spent quite a lot of time in Niger, making several visits over a period of eight or nine years It makes an interesting comparison with Of Water and the Spirit Ritual, Magic and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman I don t think I would know which one of the two authors was the outsider by their beliefs and attitudes to sorcery. Maybe like 2.5 Interesting read, but it s got a lot of issues that Stoller should ve addressed thoroughly, like his obvious insecurity and need for validation that seem to fuel his desire to become Songhay I m sure his relationships were real, but it all seems kind of exploitative I guess there s some redeeming ethnographic material, and the reader gets a sense of sorcery and Songhay culture in general. This was a totally awesome book, and really short too First of all, the depictions of the sorcerers themselves were really fascinating the pictures are amazing , and cinematic, and it was a pretty interesting anthropology experiment, sort of how far can an anthropologist immerse themselves, and how much can ethnography divorce itself from the ethnographer s personal beliefs i.e sorcery is false Its pretty insane that that woman s face was paralyzed because of his charms, and I also appreciated the way he did not always come up with pseudo scientific explanations for every odd happening, and explain by explaining away he actually gave it its due, and engaged accordingly Its sort of a one trick pony aside from some fun cultural details women aren t expected to be virgins, obese women are considered beautiful , but its an experiment worth remembering. This book was one of the cornerstone s of my coursework in religious anthropology Aside from simply being a good read, this book has often sparked the discussion of how biased a social scientist can and must acknowledge that he is be Stoller s take on ethnography is a very deeply invested one he becomes intimately involved in the culture he is studying and one can t help but consider whether or not he is the outsider looking in or whether he crosses that line to become the insider looking out I make no judgement here about which is the better, but the importance of it is that the reader bear this in mind when considering the book. One of the better books outside academia on this topic The conversations, advice and comments regarding learning and accruing wisdom in life for example, as offered by Adamu Jenitongo, one of Stoller s instructors ring true I ve heard similar from elderly and older Native Americans when instructing youth or individuals returning to the old ways There s no hand holding, no step by step instruction One is expected to be serious and dedicated or go elsewhere, No second chances because you are wasting the teacher s time and this isn t a game.This ancient way of instructing is survival oriented whether applied to secular life or the spiritual dimensions Pay attention Observe Nature is powerful and ambivalent Cultivate both inner and outer strength Ask wise questions but don t talk much No chatter, no small talk Ponder consequences before acting Don t trust everyone who smiles and gives you gifts or says nice things they are probably an enemy So wait awhile and let things play out Think for yourself One will be learning one s entire life and still barely scratch the surface Know when to run And finally, know that walking this path entails lessons and challenges requiring years to unfold When applied to sorcery, the advice is no different and consequences are sobering This is no Carlos Castaneda tale for the bored and spoiled spiritual materialism set, but the real thing Stoller writes honestly about events that may transpire when one becomes involved with the path of sorcery There are individuals who are deadly serious about what they are doing Whether one believes in sorcery or not, its quite another issue when toxic substances are employed to accomplish the ends of magic Fungi, plant matter, bacteria, viruses,poisons from reptiles and shellfish all can be used either straight or mixed into various concoctions, or fermented to even deadly potency Employed judiciously in powder, liquid or vapor form rubbed into one s clothing, lacing food, added to tea or even coating the pages of one s note book and absorbed through the pads of the fingertips So while spirits may or may not be involved, depending on one s frame of reference, one can t argue with the effects of poison on the central nervous system or digestive tract, nor poisonous snakes being hidden in one s hut.Even if you don t like or agree with the author, set those personal feelings aside and try to read this as a case study Stoller s writing opens a door onto a way of being and life ways that we will never encounter personally Personally I m glad anthros like Stoller are sharing their experiences, and so happy to see he isn t turning it into a monetizing venture complete with seminars, workshops, genuine ceremony, A Level Sorcerer Certification program and delux accommodations In Sorcery s Shadow is an odd book choice to review on a site such as this While on the one hand it is a stellar work that deserves accolade right alongside Stephen King and Homer, it is also something very special it is an ethnography.I have to make it clear what this means This is not based on a true story like The Mothman Prophecies or Apollo 13 These aren t true events that have been fictionalized and dramatized by the pen of the writer This is an actual scientific study by an anthropologist dealing with the sorcery sub culture in the Songhay region of Niger Everything that happens in it is verifiable and true It is not a novel.This makes it hard to review Much like the Odyssey, I find it difficult to comment on such scholarly endeavors But still, the hope is that you will read this and go out and pick it up, because you should It s a fast, wonderful read At times it s easy to forget it s fiction, and at those times you remember you can t help but have your faith shaken, or even become terrified.The story features the anthropologist Paul Stoller as he conducts research in Niger over the corse of four years During his first year there he is approached by a Sorko sorcerer named Djibo who interprets a sign from god to mean that he is to train Paul in the ways of the Sorko This is a tremendous opportunity, as Stoller relates, because very few anthropologists have been able to successfully and seriously penetrate the world of sorcery.Through the coarse of his studies, Stoller becomes increasingly unnerved in the very real power the rituals have over people At one pout he is asked to curse a mean European and does so, only to become horrified when it seems to actually work As he becomes and powerful, he is also magically attacked by other Sorkos, causing him to be paralyzed from the waist down and his life to become endangered.Again, this is a scientific book that is taught in Universities It s as real as it gets That s whats scary On that level, this textbook is unnerving than any horror novel I have read.Where the book falls apart is that, because it s all true, it s fairly anti climactic Normally I wouldn t hold that against it, but it seems as though some editor or co author Cheryl Oakes went to great effort to make it SEEM climactic For instance, there is great tension building throughout he second half of the book between Stoller and Djibo But it comes down to a passive aggressive hissyfit between the two of them And it s not me reading into the text manufacturing tension the name of the chapter is Showdown with Sorko Djibo That s an almost comic misappropriation of the events, and hurts the books final score.Still, it s a great book that sucks you in and teaches you a little along the way Sure the ending is a little disappointing, but if I really had an issue with that I wouldn t read Stephen King And to be fair, this book has an excuse.Almost perfect 4 5 Read reviews on The Book Closet An interesting read indeed Not only did Stoller and Olkes keep the readers entertained with the visual imagery of Niger but one could walk in his shoes and experience the pains of skepticism, doubt, culture shock, betrayal, etc Stoller s experience with the Songhay proves that rationalization in science and Western traditions alone fall short from obtaining a deep understanding and respect for another s culture and worldview Problems with the police as well as bugs, food, diarrhea, a seemingly ridiculous belief system that is completely foreign to one s own, and what s worst, the fact that an outsider can never become an insider, are all tribulations that missionaries must face on the field as well I believe this book to be an insightful revelation to the supernatural dominant world culture a must read for Westerners who desire to think critically and evaluate with discernment the ideologies of the Others realities in light of Reality. 2.5I really don t know how to rate this As an ethnography, it s controversial and perhaps unethical As a religious memoir it has holes I personally have choice words for Stoller regarding the wisdom of entering into these practices I m just going with my gut and my notes the first third of the book allowed for much underlining therefor enough information is inside to consider the purpose ethnographical After that, my notes and eyes slipped from the page The conclusion is very personal, which almost disqualifies the anthropological core Stoller seems to think times have changed enough that anthropology s rules can conform to his ideals, however I just don t believe this is the case. A fascinating look at the Songhay culture of western Niger through the eyes of an anthropologist who became an apprentice sorcerer Perhaps the question for this non fiction account is how much of Paul Stoller s description of sorcery s power is true Or to the extent that truth is a subjective interpretation of events selectively remembered, how many of Paul Stoller s experiences would I have interpreted the same way But I took it as he recounted it, and so found this a hard book to put down When I mentioned the premise of the book to a woman who had lived for years in West Africa already, she took off immediately on a tear against the native belief in witch doctors and sorcery While Paul s book never suggests the sorcerers with whom he worked failed to come up with cures and solutions to the ailements that their trusting clients brought to them, my colleague ranted about people who let an infection go too far, or for whom the witch doctor s ministrations did nothing but further harm, where a simple trip to a legitimate doctor in a timely way would have saved a life She went on and on against these hokus pokes money makers who bring no good thing to their ignorant communities and who prey on superstitions But Paul Stoller never discussed this possibility at all, never challenged whether the possession cults were a good thing or bad maybe that s not the question an anthropologist asks Nonetheless, the fear that he ascribes to the local people regarding Wanzerbe, the village famous for a concentration of powerful sorcerers, provides its own suggestion of the answer, as does the sorcery masters regular instruction to Paul to be a hard man Sorcerers, we intuit from Paul s anecdotes, are businessmen and women who wield their supernatural power, be it real or imagined and Paul s experiences suggest real with defensive and even tactically offensive strategy, building their personal wealth and protecting themselves even in sometimes petty, jealous ways The majority of the sorcerers with whom Paul interacted come across as flawed humans, and their power, based on incantations and potions, while very real in Paul s telling, tend toward malevolent A fascinating read I wish for of a denouement I wish for a philosophical conclusion I wish for an analysis of the future of sorcery in this culture, and how sorcery rectifies with the imposition of the modern world I got none of that, but oh well It was a fun read `DOWNLOAD PDF ↜ In Sorcery's Shadow: A Memoir of Apprenticeship among the Songhay of Niger ☠ Amazing Book, In Sorcery S Shadow A Memoir Of Apprenticeship Among The Songhay Of Niger Author Paul Stoller This Is Very Good And Becomes The Main Topic To Read, The Readers Are Very Takjup And Always Take Inspiration From The Contents Of The Book In Sorcery S Shadow A Memoir Of Apprenticeship Among The Songhay Of Niger, Essay By Paul Stoller Is Now On Our Website And You Can Download It By Register What Are You Waiting For Please Read And Make A Refission For You