Large, freestanding parabolic domes built of locally procured clay, with a single arched entry on one side and a small oculus at the apex, were once ubiquitous in the villages of the Mousgoum, an ethnic group that lives in an area now shared between Cameroon and Chad (Figure 1). Several of these beehive-like structures (called teleuk, pl. teleukakay) joined to one another by an intervening mud or thorn-branch wall formed the perimeter of a roughly circular enclosure, or "compound," identified with a particular family or lineage. Some teleukakay were used as sleeping quarters, with every married man, every older unmarried male, and every married woman (along with her unmarried children) occupying a separate building. Each building, in turn, was placed in relationship to all the others according to the social rank of its occupant(s). Though other building...

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