Witchcraft and Colonial Rule in Kenya, 1900-1955. Cambridge University Press, 2011.
“This is one of the finest historical ethnographies of witchcraft and statecraft that I have read. Luongo simultaneously gives account of Kamba witchcraft and of the British colonial juridical system through which it was policed – two cosmologies that not only came into conflict but that also profoundly shaped one another over time. The rich detail of the work – a reading of the archives at once anthropological and historical – makes for captivating reading and, in light of the continuing, sometimes explosive, juxtaposition of witchcraft and formal legal systems in post-colonial East Africa and beyond, a work of significant contemporary relevance.” – Harry G. West, SOAS, University of London, author of Kupilikula and Ethnographic Sorcery
“Where witchcraft is very often taken to be a peculiar aspect of Africans’ mentality, Luongo’s fine book shows how the occult was translated, disciplined, and organized by British and Kenyan brokers. The regulation of witchcraft was one of the tensions of empire, an occupation in which Kenyan practitioners played a role alongside British authorities. Luongo’s book allows us to see how witches haunted colonial power, giving us new insights into the uncertainties of governance.” – Derek Peterson, University of Michigan, author of Creative Writing: Translation, Bookkeeping, and the Work of Imagination in Kenya
“Luongo’s vivid style of anthropological history brings out the full complexity of colonial officials’ positioning toward the witchcraft conundrum. But the interest of this groundbreaking study is much broader. Luongo’s imaginative analysis of rich legal data and people’s memories shows witchcraft to be an ongoing, basic challenge to state formation as such, up to the present day.” – Peter Geschiere, University of Amsterdam, author of The Modernity of Witchcraft: Politics of the Occult in Postcolonial Africa