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From Talbot , Jeffreys , Messenger , , , , Jones , , , , Nicklin , , , Salmons , Offiong , and Akpan we have learned how Annang masks articulate with social structure and function, with cosmology and aesthetic, with initiation and generation, and with colonial state and the Christian missions. However, we have yet to learn about the historical trajectory of Annang masking traditions, nor how these performative traditions are inflected and appropriated in a postcolonial setting. In the following I examine the question of what has happened to Annang masking traditions and trace a narrative of criminalization and diabolization during and after missionary and colonial encounters.

Contemporary continuities are then traced through genealogical lines and to ways in which cultural performance has been captured by religious specialists.

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Turning to other instances of appropriation, I focus on the apparently contradictory ways in which Annang youth code themselves within and against masked identities. The conclusion that emerges is that we have yet to examine those features of Annang masquerade in spite, or perhaps because of which masking has proved such a persistent feature of social life Figs. Indeed, to explain the effect and persistence of Annang masking we must return to the classic question of "what's in a mask? Here we need to move beyond structural-functionalist political interpretations which highlight the role of masking in cross-cutting otherwise fissiparous lineages Horton , and beyond the role of masks in life-cycle events Turner More helpful to our task is the "paradox-making" role of masks.

Here I attempt to historicize Elizabeth Tonkin's insights into masking as an "embodied paradox" in which it is not disguise, but transformation that is key to understanding. Masking concerns transformations which mark a movement from one realm to another through processes of metamorphosis that negotiate humanity's relationship with the wild and the dead Kasfir , Fardon Mimetically drawing on the power and character of other realms of experience, the displacement of masking points above all to the possibility of other, impenetrable worlds of knowledge and power.

The paradox is that masks might be seen, therefore, as revelatory practices which reveal an absence: Masking is the "labour of the negative" par excellence Taussig The argument in this paper, however, is that rather than evading subjugation, young people in Nigeria appropriate the contradictions of masking to contest their political marginality.

In the postcolonial context of "metaphysical disorder" Comaroff and Comaroff and "radical uncertainty" Mbembe , the verification of knowledge by means that are beyond human agency, the reconfiguration of others as abject nonhumans, and the re-making of selves out of the secrets of the supernatural are familiar and effective frameworks in the quest for order and certainty. It is within these cultural understandings that Annang masking practices retain their currency. And they do so in relation to and in transgression of a given, a normative historical landscape infused with Christian ethics and Pentecostalist imperatives to "break" with this past Meyer To address these points I am focusing on Annang communities which lie in the palm-belt of southeastern Nigeria.

Differentiated by gender and generation, season and event, and with considerable local variation and overlap, the Annang social landscape has been populated by a myriad of "plays" during its history. Indeed, the distinction between a song, theatre, masquerade, and secret society in Annang culture is ill-defined; generically they are known by a single term abodom--drumming. Hence, secret initiatory societies formed only one part of a range of instruments that were used to promote and defend community values, that demanded initiatory fees, that performed shaming and censoring activities against social infractions, and that disguised the identities of the performers.

The most well-known examples of the initiatory societies of these communities are ekpe, the leopard society Ruel , Leib and Romano , Ottenberg and Knudsen ; on the ekpe society's trans-Atlantic connections see Palmie , awie owo, the warrior society Salmons , the married women's society, ebre or nyaama Jeffreys , and the ekon masquerade, which comprises a number of dramatic performances, including puppetry, costumed acting, and acrobatics Jeffreys , Messenger , Scheinberg , Ebong Inih The focus of this historical narrative, however, is the ancestral masquerade, the ekpo society, which is indigenous to the Ibibio-speaking language cluster.

Ekpo's laws mbet came into force after the rainy season at the time of the new yam festival and closed its performance four weeks later, when the ancestors were bid farewell in the frightening, noisy, nocturnal ceremony ndck which marked both the year's end and the boundaries between living and dead Leonard Several ekpo lodges formed a cluster around a prominent market, where opening and closing performances were held. The annual performances of these lodges inscribed a set of inter-village allegiances onto the Annang political landscape as well as marking out male membership with prohibitions against non-initiates, women, and children.

For most men who had reached social maturity, initiation into the ancestor society involved a simple presentation of food and money, but violence was also central. The wounds ekpo players inflicted on non-initiates, by knives, swords, or arrows, were injuries sent from the village of the dead obio ekpo and could be healed only on the payment of initiation fees.


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Since members shared the initiation fees there was, therefore, an incentive for and legitimation of violence, and the elders of the society ete ekpo distributed eagle feathers and the rights to carve new masks to players who had inflicted such wounds. In its simulation of ancestral presence ekpo represents Annang cosmology writ large.

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Members of the society wear carved wooden masks which impersonate and become possessed by the spirits of the ancestors Figs. The distinction in the character of ancestors in Annang society was drawn between good spirits--those who were successful in life--and bad ones--those who were unsuccessful or notoriously malicious. These categories were also linked to forms of death; a normal death mkpa from old age was contrasted with a sudden or violent one afai. The contrasting forms of ancestorhood are captured at their most figurative in ekpo performance and correspond to an aesthetic of beauty eti and ugliness idiok in their carved masks.

These terms are ways of relating character eti ilo, 'good person', idiok ilo, 'bad person' and behavior eti usun, 'good way', idiok usun, 'bad way'. Beautiful masks representing good spirits mfcn ekpo are worn on the opening and closing performances of the masquerade in the market, and portray the face in a human form which stresses fertility, often with a series of smaller, children's faces carved upon the forehead. Ugly masks, in contrast, contain exaggerated and distorted features representing malevolent, wandering spirits idiok ekpo.

They are usually smaller, with non-human features such as jagged teeth, and sometimes represent disfiguring diseases such as gangosa Simmons , Messenger Fear of malevolent ancestral spirits was a palpable element of ekpo performance, and there is, consequently, a strong emphasis on the control of the fiercest spirits represented by the masks. These include categories of "nonsense" spirits ntime ntime ekpo such as the deaf spirit inan ekpo who cannot hear the drum's directions or onlookers' pleas for mercy, and who delights in destroying farm crops Umoren The most awesome and dangerous of the masks, however, is that of the spirit of the ghosts ekpo ndem.

Wearing this mask is a form of ordeal and only a descendant of the society's founder can don it without suffering misfortune. Its highly ambiguous source of power contributes to ekpo ndem's status. The initiate who wears the ekpo ndem mask sleeps in the forest akai for seven nights, where he must not eat food cooked by a woman. He will pour libations on the graves of seven "wicked" people idiok ilo, 'ugly character' , and he will consume roots known as adun abasi 'root of god' that make him feel like he is flying. Ekpo ndem is differentiated in other symbolic forms, including the way the masked performer is tied at the waist with palm-tapper rope to prevent him from attacking onlookers, the way he circulates around the performance space clockwise by the lefthand side, and the way that the masked performer cannot bend forward to resolve the familiar high-low opposition of Annang ritual.

These transgressions of left-right and high-low are illustrative of the most malignant states of possession and malevolent ancestral forces. Representations of this initiatory and performative violence figured prominently in missionary and colonial encounters with ekpo. In an Irishman, Samuel Bill, arrived at the mouth of the Qua Iboe river and established in areas of the hinterland recently released from King Jaja's blockade a nondenominational evangelical Protestant mission, the Qua Iboe Mission.

The Mission's perception of the secret societies was formative for the Annang communities of this region.

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Over several decades the secret societies would figure as the most serious obstacle to the spread of the Gospel and missionary representations would take contradictory paths. First, to missionary minds, the Annang political landscape was a blank canvas populated by diabolized monstrous forms. The early imaginings of the secret societies therefore imported stories from along the coast in Sierra Leone of human leopard societies.

In October Archie Bailie, based at the Okat station wrote that:. Not only were societies misrepresented in this way, but throughout this period the idiom of the secret society became a residual category into which unfamiliar social practices and forms were collapsed. Hence almost all elements of the Annang polity which were opaque to colonial authorities were thought to be shrouded in secrecy and hence labelled as a secret society, including divination orders, elders' meetings and any performance.

Covert mobilization in the Women's War, the trafficking of prostitutes, and the organization of village night guards were all linked in official discourse to the workings of shadowy sodalities of initiates. Second, the church, in its translation of the Bible, incorporated key features of the local cosmology to Christianity's conceptions of God and Devil, Heaven and Hell. In translations of the Bible and in everyday speak, the remote, all-controlling beneficial sky god, abassi enycn, became Abassi, and was translated for God.

The ancestral spirits, ekpo, as represented in masquerade performances, became the Devil.

Music as Transgression: Masking and Sonic Abjection in Norwegian Black Metal

In the process, as Meyer and others have shown, the missionaries implied and fuelled a belief in the very supernatural agencies that they declared imaginary. Hence, that which Christian futures stood against, "heathen" practice, masquerade, fetish, and occult powers was crystallized in one single term--ekpo--the name of the ancestral mask.

Furthermore, conversion interrupted the initiatory cycle by which men's societies reproduced themselves. In ekpo it was customary to cajole and humiliate a non-initiate, but by the early s those who converted to Christianity and resisted initiation into ekpo became the subject of concerted and violent coercion: There was, therefore, a significant economic dimension to elders' resentment of the Christian youth, because they were unable to recoup secret society initiation fees, and because, as Perham put it, "Christianity has knocked the bottom out of their investments" Perham Secret society resistance was not only directed at Christian converts.

The imposition of the colonial judicial order in the Qua Iboe hinterland was met with overt and covert responses from the eiders of the secret societies. The potential revival of "pre-government days" was a constant fear for the administration and so-called "revivals" were especially prevalent during the World War I years:. In , at Etaha Obong market, two miles from Uyo, for instance, ekpo meetings were held during which they resolved to restore their "ancient authority" Tired of the new Native Courts, ekpo had made arrangements to deal with anyone who sought to frustrate them and demanded "to rule the whole country again under the old ekpo law.

Despite this, however, the relative absence of powerful rulers, the official relegation of clan heads, and the growing dissatisfaction with Warrant Chiefs "reinforced the practical need to tolerate secret societies" Nwaka Throughout the inter-war years, therefore, the government policy towards the secret societies was one of "tolerant forbearance" determined by an overriding priority to maintain cohesion and social integration.


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Colonial perspectives of the ekpo society placed it in an ambiguous space between being essential to the fabric of society, and being an "armed and lawless constabulary. Hence, while the prohibition of ekpo was discussed in Uyo District in , it was rejected in the Annang Districts of Abak and Ikot Ekpene for fear of causing a breakdown in the social order. World War II was a key turning point in the criminalization of the secret societies, and for ekpo in particular. Reports of the number of people being assaulted during ekpo performances was a key index, and was itself a marker of the confidence of converts and "A-lights" mission-educated, self-styled elites with a "progressive" outlook to implicate the secret societies with the authorities.

In making markets insecure, in discouraging "stranger" traders and in delaying shipments of palm produce to the coast, progressive letter-writers framed their objections in economic terms and accused the masked ekpo players of being enemies of the Empire and of being "devilishly spirited Hitlers hitting down our War Effort" Nigerian Eastern Mail, September 4, Masquerades themselves were also changing during the war, with cities and Christmas time providing new spatial and temporal logics for performance.

Across the continent from the s onwards, most notably during the war years, youth gangs including Cowboy cults were reported as a "menace" to law and order during festive periods La Hausse , Burton Traditional masquerade performances in the growing towns of Uyo, Eket, and Calabar were also notorious and secret society members found themselves being charged with the new offence of "masquerade hooliganism. The apparent deterioration in the conduct of ekpo and other societies forced the colonial authorities to reconsider their previously ambivalent stance towards them.

In Uyo in the district officer threatened that any ekpo men found in their masks would be arrested and charged for conducting themselves in a way likely to cause a breach of the peace Nigerian Eastern Mail, August 19, There was, however, no general proscription of secret societies. After World War II, however, the secret societies came under increasing official purview. The Uyo Divisional Advisory Committee had recommended that the ekpo society be declared illegal in , though the first bye-laws restraining ekpo's activities were enacted later in In Ikot Ekpene the plays were not banned but their activities were restricted.

In genetics, transgressive segregation is the formation of extreme phenotypes, or transgressive phenotypes, observed in segregated hybrid populations compared to phenotypes observed in the parental lines. If both parents' favorable alleles come together, it will result in a hybrid having a higher fitness than the two parents. The hybrid species will show more genetic variation and variation in gene expression than their parents.

As a result, the hybrid species will have some traits that are transgressive extreme in nature. There are many causes for transgressive segregation in hybrids. One cause can be due to recombination of additive alleles. Recombination results in new pairs of alleles at two or more loci. These different pairs of alleles can give rise to new phenotypes if gene expression has been changed at these loci. Another cause can be elevated mutation rate. When mutation rates are high, it is more probable that a mutation will occur and cause an extreme phenotypic change.

Masking Transgressions

Reduced developmental stability is another cause for transgressive segregation. Developmental stability refers to the capability of a genotype to go through a constant development of a phenotype in a certain environmental setting. If there is a disturbance due to genetic or environmental factors, the genotype will be more sensitive to phenotypic changes.

Another cause arises from the interaction between two alleles of two different genes, also known as the epistatic effect. Epistasis is the event when one allele at a locus prevents an allele at another locus to express its product as if it is masking its effect. Therefore, epistasis can be related to gene over dominance caused by heterozygosity at specific loci. All of these causes lead to the appearance of these extreme phenotypes and creates a hybrid species that will deviate away from the parent species niche and eventually create an individual "hybrid" species.

Other than the genetic factors solely causing transgressive segregation, environmental factors can cause genetic factors to take place. Environmental factors that cause transgressive segregation can be influenced by human activity and climate change. Both human activity and climate change have the capability to force species of a specific genome to interact with other species with different genomes. For example, if a bridge is built that connects two isolated areas to one another, a gene flow door would open.

These bands performed chaotic music, often setting lyrics with themes of Satanism, anti-Christianity, murder, rape, and torture. Extremely fast or slow tempos, unusual song structures, distortion, and lo-fi sound quality distinguished the scene stylistically from other European and American heavy metals.

The individuals who created this music did so under the disguise of masks: Members of black metal bands also engaged in extremely violent and criminal activities, including burning churches, murdering strangers and friends for various reasons, and committing suicide. This thesis explores the connections between the music and the transgressions of this music subculture, with masking at the intersection between the two.

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