This introductory chapter explains the coverage of this volume, which is about the links between a violent historical and political legacy and a cultural order of dissimulation in the Mende-speaking southeastern Sierra Leone. This volume analyzes how strategies of concealment permeate multiple levels of discursive and spatial practice, from the real world of regional politics to the more mundane realms on domesticity and productive activities. Central to this book is the politics of cultural meanings contested between different orders of knowledge and communication as they are negotiated between different individuals, social categories, and the sexes. The analysis of “the underneath things” focuses on the material bearers of meanings inscribed onto the rural Sierra Leonean landscape.
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