The Red Fez:On Art and Possession in Africa

  • Paperback

Kramer sets out to show that African images of Europeans—in sculpture, masquerades and above all spirit possession—are the reverse and also the counterpart of European images of the Other as savage, whether noble or ignoble. In ways which may echo 19th-century European realism, they reveal the power of the detail: a feather, a car, or the eponymous red fez which runs like a leitmotif through spirit possession cults of the early colonial period. “The Red Fez” demonstrates not only the startling likenesses to ourselves and our culture, but also reflections of forms of knowledge which this civilization has submerged.