Chapter 1

The rootedness of trees

Place as cultural and natural texture in rural southwest Congo*

Filip De Boeck


Introduction

This chapter analyses notions of place (as localised space), ancestral space-time, history and remembrance as revealed in, and through, the tree symbolism of the ancestral miyoomb shrines among the aLuund of southwestern Congo (ex-Zaire). Victor Turner, in a brief sentence in The Forest of Symbols, describes how, among the Luunda-related Ndembu of former Northern Rhodesia, the miyoomb trees (singular muyoomb) are ‘planted as living shrines in the centre of villages’ (Turner 1967:10; my emphasis). I will elaborate on this intriguing and enigmatic notion of ‘living shrine’ to investigate the Luunda sense of place. More generally, I will look at the relation between trees, notions of rootedness and (male) personhood, and the way in which these give rise to a sense of place, in which both history and ancestrality are spatialised and incorporated. As such, the concern here is not with locality, and its loss of ontological moorings, in the context of processes of globalisation or destabilisation of the nation-state (Appadurai 1995; De Boeck 1996), but rather with a more traditional anthropological preoccupation, namely the ‘production’ of social space and, through it, the (re)production of society and its history.

What turns a space into a place for the aLuund of southwestern Congo is, literally, its rootedness in the past and its capacity to constitute, and conjure up, a living spatialised memory and link between past and present. Among the aLuund, the (image of the) tree and, by extension, the land, becomes the means by which one’s place in the social landscape is ‘rooted’ in a material historicity and in an ancestral space-time. The tree and, in particular, the muyoomb tree, seems to be one of the aLuund’s preferred means for the production of historically situated locality. Trees convey a meaning of rootedness, of immobility. The tree

-25-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Locality and Belonging
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 224

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.