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Iron, Gender, and Power: Rituals of Transformation in African Societies. By Eugenia W. Herbert (Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1994) 277 pp. $39.95 cloth $18.95 paper
The author, a historian, surveys the available literature published on smelting and forging iron in sub-Saharan Africa, along with a wide range of associated beliefs and practices. She briefly worked with two iron-smelting peoples, herself--the Bassari of Togo and the Ekonda of Zaire.
Inevitably, this work is based mostly on anthropological writings by others. The author argues "that within the systems of belief underpinning transformative processes, gender plays a far more important role …