The Pygmy mimic
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The Pygmy mimic is an extremely persistent colonial trope that continues to inform contemporary anthropological understandings of Africa’s Pygmy populations. Mimicry is now understood as being a key component of the social reproduction of a distinct Pygmy way of being. In this paper I examine the historical accounts of mimicry and try to bring a historical perspective to bear on contemporary ethnographic accounts of its practice. I also set my own research among the Sua Pygmies of Uganda against these other examples. The intention behind this is to acknowledge the common humanity of Africa’s Pygmies and to create new grounds of comparison - such as a shared history of oppression - that are not dependent on a unique foraging mode of thought.
Frankland , S 2016 , ' The Pygmy mimic ' Africa , vol 86 , no. 3 , pp. 552-570 . DOI: 10.1017/S0001972016000371
© International African Institute 2016. This work is made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at http://www.eupjournals.com/journal/afr
The author thanks the Universities of St Andrews and London, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Horniman and Swan Funds, and also the Carnegie Trust.
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