Wim van Binsbergen, born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 1947. Ph.D. from the VU University, Amsterdam. Professor of Anthropology at the VU University, Amsterdam, and Head of the Department of Political and Historical Studies, African Studies Centre, Leiden.
Fellow (1 September 1994 – 30 June 1995)
During my stay at NIAS, which I have experienced as immensely pleasurable and inspiring, I completed the research for my book “Four tablets: A Southern African divination system in its trans-regional and historical context”, and wrote most of the chapters. I am confident to complete the entire manuscript before the end of 1995. Besides I completed a rough draft of R. Badwy & W.M.J. van Binsbergen, translators, “Treatise on the principles of sand-science by Sidi ash-Shaikh Muhammad az-Zanati” to which has been added: “The treatise on numerology based on the drawing of lots (Jafr wa-Qur’a) by the Lord Ja’far as-Sadiq” (English translation of: Kitab al-fasl al-kabir fi usul ‘ilm ar-raml: wa-yalihi: Risala fi’l-Jafr wa-Qur’a li-Sayyidi Ja’far as-Sadiq), 140 pp.; as well as a draft of the first volume of “Shrines and social organisation in north-western Tunisia; vol. I: The segmentary dynamics of kinship and locality; vol. II: Shrines, saints and their cults” (200 and 300 pp.), and the graphic material for both volumes. In addition a considerable number of articles and seminar papers were written, several of which are now in press, others to be incorporated in “Four Tablets”, while the remainder awaits revision. Under the splendid NIAS conditions and the inspiring theme group “Magic and Religion in the Ancient Near East”, initial plans were modified in the direction of a re-orientation in the anthropology of religion and related fields, a far greater coverage of Orientalist and ancient materials, and intensive co-operation with other members of the theme group, which has already produced one extensive joint publication and is expected to be continued in the future.