Berghahn Books Logo

berghahn New York · Oxford

View Table of Contents

Volume 32

Methodology & History in Anthropology

See Related Anthropology Journals

Get Email Updates

Returning Life

Language, Life-Force and History in Kilimanjaro

Knut Christian Myhre

374 pages, 20 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-665-2 $130.00/£92.00 Hb Not Yet Published (December 2017)

eISBN 978-1-78533-666-9 eBook Not Yet Published

Hb   Recommend to your Library Buy the ebook from these vendors


“For over two decades the New Melanesian Ethnography has extended itself in many useful directions, though rarely, in Africa, has it proved so productive as in this fascinating collection. Working at the analytic crossroads of anthropology, Africa and Melanesia, Returning Life provides fresh insights into some of today’s most pressing anthropological challenges.” · Todd Sanders, University of Toronto

“This very well written book presents an original argument with rich empirical material and many strong lines of inquiry.” · Amy Stambach, University of Wisconsin, Madison


A group of Chagga-speaking men descend the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro to butcher animals and pour milk, beer, and blood on the ground, requesting rain for their continued existence. Returning Life explores how this event, along with many others, affects life-force in different forms. Diverse sources demonstrate how this phenomenon extends to coffee cash-cropping, Catholic Christianity, and colonial and post-colonial rule, featuring cognate languages from throughout the area. This vivid ethnography explores how life projects through beings of different kinds, bringing to life concepts and practices that extend through time and space, transcending established analytics.

Knut Christian Myhre is a researcher in the Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo. He is the editor of Cutting and Connecting: ‘Afrinesian’ Perspectives on Networks, Exchange and Relationality (Berghahn 2016) and the author of numerous articles. Myhre has held positions at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), the Nordic Africa Institute, and the University of Oslo.

Subject: General Anthropology General Cultural Studies Sociology
Area: Africa




Chapter 1. Kaa: Historical Transformations in Production and Habitation
Chapter 2. Ialika: Marrying as a Mode of Extension     
Chapter 3. Horu: Channelling Bodies and Shifting Subjects in an Enganging World
Chapter 4. Idamira: Burial as Emplacement and Displacement
Chapter 5. Iabisa: Cursing as a Linguistic and Material Practice
Chapter 6. Ngakuuriya Moo: Returning Life, Affording Rain



Back to Top