Study Guide for E.E. Evans-Pritchard The Nuer
1. What were the colonial conditions when E-P began his study of the Nuer?
- What was the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium Government of the Sudan?
- What were the consequences of their policy of divide and rule in the
- Who asked E-P to complete a study of the Nuer? Why?
- Why were the Nuer hostile to the British?
- What forms of violence are a direct consequence of colonial policies?
2. In evaluating an ethnography, you should begin with three questions:
- How did the ethnographer gain access to the community?
- How did/do the political arrangements mark the relationship between
- What theoretical concerns motivate the study?
- How do these three questions relate to E-P’s study of the Nuer.
3. What is cultural Translation?
- What did E-P mean when he spoke of a Bovine idiom of speech?
• Spoke in a Bovine (cow) idiom
• Idiom – group of words est. by usage as having a mean, not
deducible from those of the everyday words
• Used cattle as an idiom to talk about things much broader than
cows (i.e. love, values, kinship, marriage, politics)
• Nuer tend to define all social functioning in terms of cattle
• Over emphasis in cattle is found in vocab
• Cows shape economy and political structures
- Why did E-P argue the goal of anthropology should be interpretation
rather than functionalist explanation?
- What did E-P mean when he said anthropologists were “doubly
alienated?” And how might that lead to forms of objectivity, or ironic
4. The Nuer
- How did the ecology influence Nuer social patterns?
• Transhumant people
• During floods go to higher grounds, during droughts go