360 Book Reviews / Journal of Religion in Africa 40 (2010) 358-363 Ramon Sarró, The Politics of Religious Change on the Upper Guinea Coast: Iconoclasm Done and Undone , Edinburgh, International African Library 38/Edinburgh University Press, 2009, 239 pp., 978 0 7486 3515 3. ‘Simmel was right: we have some diﬃculty in accepting that life and ruins may coexist’ (p. 11), writes Ramon Sarró in his impressive ethnohistoric account of the Baga in Guinea. This subtle book is precisely about such coexistence; it is about iconoclasm and iconic renewal, cultural ﬂows and closures. It is about spiritual and political clashes with a focus on cultural recovery rather than outright loss. Sarró presents a humble and simultaneously advanced, scholarly picture of dealing with secrecy, of the creation of cultural remoteness, and the ramiﬁcations of always being late (‘You should have been here twenty years ago’ is an answer that has frustrated many of us when asking about a ritual or similar topics in the ﬁeld)—he is taking the reader into an ‘as-if ’ world. Sarró not only deals with secrecy as a methodological problem but also makes it into a core strength of the book by refer- ring throughout
Journal of Religion in Africa – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2010
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