tory forms of those Patamuna who colluded in that ethnographic
tempt, overlapped to some degree. This mutual production of the
of kanaimà is a historical consequence of sustained contact betw
British colonial administration and the peoples of the interior since
mid-nineteenth century, when these texts were produced, and has
come the basis for a mimetic cultural production of kanaimà th
sustained to this day. Kanaimà rapidly burgeoned into a colonial tr
of interior Guyana, which brought it within the realm of the colo
imagination. As a result, the kanaimà were compared to the Shiva s
of India by Henri Coudreau and to the werewolf by William B
thus becoming a new version of the colonial nightmare of the sh
shifting and secretively violent colonial subject. The ‘‘Leopard-men
West Africa, the ‘‘Mau-Mau’’ in Kenya, the ‘‘Thugs’’ of Gunga-Din,
‘‘Hassassins’’ of ancient Syria, the ‘‘Zombies’’ of Haiti, and of co
that old favorite, the ‘‘Cannibal’’ from Amazonia to the South Se
all crowd the colonial imagination, vying for space in the emotive l
con of rebellious terror and exotic horror.
At the same time, anthropological authors like Everard Im Thur
John Gillin tried, as I have, to offer forms of cultural contextualiza
that allow access to the meanings that kanaimà holds for its cult
participants. Moreover, in order to avoid, one supposes, a mere c
bration of kanaimà for its exoticism, most such commentators h
tried to locate its origins in ideas of vengeance. This gave kana
a social ‘‘function’’ that certainly reflected its importance as a D
heimian ‘‘social fact’’ about highland societies and also neatly s
fied the need for functionalist explanation. However, the appeal of
idea of law and order emerging from primitive anarchy via a rigid
tem of vengeance, as reflected in Im Thurn’s comparison of kana
to the ‘‘Israelitish law of retaliation’’ (, ), is still present in
cent anthropological explanations and was taken up most obvio
by David Thomas () in his study suggestively titled Order wit
However, just as with serial killing in the United States (Sel
; Tithecott ), kanaimà turns out to be more broadly im
tant to sociocultural reproduction than is represented in the colo
and anthropological literature. The structure of the colonial argum
was that the obsessive and excessive thanatology and ritual of kana
Conclusion 
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