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Masquerades of Modernity

Power and Secrecy in Casamance, Senegal

Ferdinand de Jong


How do those on the margins of modernity face the challenges of globalization? This book demonstrates that secrecy is one of the means by which a society on the fringe of modernity produces itself as locality. Focusing on initiation rituals, masked performances and modern art, this study shows that rituals and performances long deemed obsolete, serve the insertion of their performers in the world at their own terms.

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Part I Introduction
Power of Secrecy
Part II Transitions
Jola Initiations, Gendered Localities
Out of Diaspora, Into the Forest
The Politics of Representation
Part III: Trajectories
Mandinko Initiation: The Making of an Urban Locality
Secrecy, Sacrilege and the State
Part IV Traces
Masquerade and Migration
The Art of Tradition
Writing Secrecy.


De Jong's work covers a diverse array of subjects in the Casamance region of Senegal, a multi-ethnic region in the sway of global modernity, including initiation ceremonies, age-sets and gendering, Islamisation, state formation, civil unrest, and the commoditisation of performance as 'heritage'. [It offers] a solid and thought-provoking engagement with contemporary theoreticians.Nicolas Argenti, Brunel University
- Social Anthropology 17/4

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