Gesture and Power: Religion, Nationalism, and Everyday Performance in Congo
Performative Encounters, Political Bodies
This chapter provides an extended discussion of the research methodology used in the study and describes two primary research sites—Kinshasa, the capital city, and Luozi, a small town on the rural periphery of Bas-Congo province. Approached reflexively, this chapter explores how a young African American woman from the South Bronx ended up in the Congo, and how her own history and body both intersected with and diverged from the experiences and beliefs of the BisiKongo people she interviewed and interacted with on a daily basis. The chapter focuses on the ethnographer’s body to highlight how race, class, gender, and even religious prophecy impact everyday lives, mutual understandings, and misunderstandings for both the author and her Congolese interlocutors.