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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Gender and the 'Kankurang' Mask: An Analysis of Myth and Female Ritual
Author:Langeveld, Kirsten
Periodical:Mande Studies
Geographic term:Senegal
Subjects:gender relations
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Women's Issues
Religion and Witchcraft
Cultural Roles
Ethnic and Race Relations
Sex Roles
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/44093486
Abstract:Masquerades often contain the expression of male supremacy. Previous theories of masked dancing are dominated by an almost exclusive attention to the objects and their use by men. This paper argues that the 'kankurang' mask of Basse Casamance in Senegal can only be fully understood by taking into consideration the role of women in this particular masquerade. The paper describes and analyses the gender relations in the 'kankurang' mask ritual, focusing on specific aspects of the mask activity. It first considers two versions of the 'kankurang' myth of origin. These narratives demonstrate unequivocally how women's involvement with the mask is crucial to our understanding. This is followed by an analysis of the role of the 'kankurang' mask in the 'kanyalen' ritual, intended to assist women whose children die before weaning. Finally, the role of the female 'kankurang', who serves as the sacred power in the ritual of female excision, is described. The paper concludes that the 'kankurang' mask rituals are an important venue in which the sexes negotiate their power domains. The paper is based on the author's PhD research on Jola masks and gender relations in three villages of the Basse Casamance and in Ziguinchor, the capital of the region. Besides the Jola, two other groups, the Bainouck and Mande, are included in the research. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]