Of Humans, Pigs, and Souls

An Essay on the Yagwoia Womba (Cannibal) Complex

Jadran Mimica

Of Humans, Pigs, and Souls

Jadran Mimica

Distributed for HAU

85 pages | 1 halftone, 1 figure | 6 x 9
Paper $20.00 ISBN: 9781912808311 Will Publish March 2020
For the Yagwoia-Anga people of Papua New Guinea, “womba” is a malignant power with the potential to afflict any soul with cravings for pig meat and human flesh. Drawing on long-term research among the Yagwoia and informed by existential phenomenology and psychoanalysis, Jadran Mimica explores the womba complex in its local cultural-existential determinations and regional permutations. He attends to the lived experience of this complex in relation to the wider context of mortuary practices, historical cannibalism, and sorcery. This wider womba complex, including its regional permutations, illuminates the moral meanings of Yagwoia selfhood and its sense of agency and subjectivity. Mimica concludes by reflecting on the recent escalation of concerns with witchcraft and sorcery in Papua New Guinea, specifically in relation to the new wave of Christian evangelism occurring in partnership with the state. A short monograph grounded in ethnographic description, this book is perfect for both graduate and advanced undergraduate teaching.
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