Kabyle women from Algeria were believed to have been relegated to a role, subjugated by dominant males, in which they were confined to reproduction, nature, and their sensibilities. The weaknesses created by this inequality were thought to be compensated for by their living inconspicuous lives practicing magic, especially in love. Makilam rejects these preconceived ideas and demonstrates that women's magic was expressed in every domain of their daily lives: pottery making, food provision/preparation, and weaving. In fact, the traditional Kabyle society was incapable of functioning without women, who ensured its material and spiritual unity.
The Author: An anthropologist and historian, Makilam received her Ph.D. in history and ethnography from the University of Bremen, Germany. She is an indigenous Kabyle and was raised in a Berber village in northern Algeria until she was seventeen. Although she has since lived in Europe, she remains very close to her roots, and her testimony, interspersed with personal experiences, sheds new light on the rituals and myths of this vanishing society.