Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, Stephanie Smallwood, a professor of History at the University of Washington, Seattle uniquely and interestingly comes up with a book with a subject of its own kind on the Atlantic slavery. Intellectually, the book catches the attention of the reader with its compelling force and stories of what slave trade was like during the early seventeenth century Africa, the nature of the Sea journeys and its related experiences and how that might have transmitted to the New World.
The book shows the wisdom of understanding the collaborations that existed between Africans, Europeans, and the European and American slavers. The volume effectively analyzes the history of American slavery which begins in the West African shores, through the Atlantic Sea to the New World. It comprises of seven chapters. Chapter one tracks the history of Atlantic slavery going back to the Gold Coast of West Africa and basically examines the roles played by Africans and foreigners Dutch, Portuguese, and English in the commercialization of slavery. The chapter continues to show the unsuccessful attempts against the Europeans slavers and the treachery of African compromisers of the trade.
Professor Smallwood brings into content the statistics of those who were enslaved from early and the kind of ships that were used in shipping them to their destination Not only was the issue of shipping slaves a major concern, but also negotiating their prices is masterly argued in this chapter. With this, came a new challenge that slaves had to deal with as they faced forced migrations from their homeland into the New World.
The book argues that even as much as some of the slaves in the Ships were able to communicate in their tribal languages, in many cases most slaves were not able even to find someone to communicate with in their language The atrocious conditions under which slaves went through in the slave ships cannot even be put into words. Professor Smallwood does an excellent job in bringing into picture essentially those horrible experiences in the Ships showing that the Sea lifestyle was not accustomed by Europeans and Africans at the time forcing them into a learning adjustment process.
The European colonization of the New World is presented to have been a source of indent and control of the innocent Africans. The last two chapters deal with the immersion of African slaves into American slaves and their life challenges in the New World. Of course those who survived the Sea arrived in the New World with continued mistreatment as commodities contributing to their increased mortality rate in Diaspora. It must be argued here that while this magnum opus boldly communicates a new message to the reader, chapter one would have drawn more data on the role played by the Dutch in the trade and also show the nature the historical background of slavery in Africa from the fifteenth to seventeenth century.
Brightly written and meticulously appealing, the book still stands as a groundbreaking text with detailed substantiation of African experiences, authentications, and verified reactions. Unlike the vast majority of books on the same subject, this volume brilliantly shows a history before, during, and after the Middle Passage in a more persuasive manner. In summary, Saltwater Slavery stands out to be one of the few well written, researched, and intellectually presented to the readers Africanists, African, and African American history students and other interested parties. This volume is a must read text for every class that deals with the history of slavery or African History.
In the quest for money, he adds, colonial powers not only neglected African interests; they seriously threatened them. Economic Parasitism is based on a very extensive use of secondary sources—books, chapters and journal articles on different countries of West Africa. On the whole there are entries in the bibliography. The sources cover all regions and countries of West Africa Generally, the sources are more than adequate for the purpose of the author.
Apart from the first two chapters and the last, which cover the early stages and last stages of the colonial era, the others are based strictly on themes—land, labour, monetary and fiscal reform, agriculture, etc. This approach enabled the author to exhaustively analyze each of the colonial policies he treated. But, as the author himself admitted p. The book is written with everyday language and uses commonsense explanations. However, because it is big and largely argumentative, it is so complex that it will find audience only among mature readers—research students and scholars.
He also demonstrates how they accomplished this and how Africans suffered in the process. He also writes briefly about how African resistance helped to moderate some of the policies of the colonial powers. He asserts that, basically because it led to the depletion of manpower in Africa, the slave trade retarded industrialization in pre-colonial Africa. This is not convincing: the industrial revolution is yet to take place in places like North Africa which did not export slaves in the 15thth century; the revolution started in Europe from where millions migrated or were forced to the Americas during this period.
There is need to qualify this widely held view. The view is valid in relation to some colonies e. Senegal and the Portuguese colonies. In many others, like Nigeria and Cameroon, there was adequate labour for both cash crops and food crops production.
Indeed, partly through the policies of the colonial government, there was a boost in food production. His reasons were that their holdings were small in size and that much of the land they acquired was not cultivated. Now we have to sum up. However, Thompson overstates his case. Many colonial policies that he considers progressive, like the abolition of slavery, introduction of new crops, infrastructural development, and immunization, are not credited at all to the goodwill of the colonial rulers.
In his view such measures were either inadequate, or were meant to ultimately advance the economic interests of Europe, or they were concessions made to African resistance. This is not a balanced view. While it is true that trusteeship was subordinated to profit by the colonial rulers, much was done in the area of trusteeship, with the result that Africa was modernized during the colonial era.
In the course of doing that, however, inequality and other forms of injustice could not be avoided. Thus the goal of the independence struggle was not to stop the process of modernization but to minimize the injustices associated with modernization. This is a more balanced view of European rule in Africa. The Art Institute of Chicago. New Haven: Yale University Press, The color choice, which is black, for the front cover provides an appropriate projecting backdrop template for the brown plaque image of Oba Esiqie cast on brass on the front cover.
The content of the book is organized into two parts: The first contains photographs and some historical bits on origin, people and events that seem to define what Benin Kingdom was. In all, there are ten photographs, photographs that document the Obas and Chiefs in their rich royal regalia figs. In compliment to all the featured photographs is a brief history of the reigns and achievements of few of the Obas of the kingdom. The child was later crowned Oba Eweka I. For example, head objects; royal alter head of an Oba and Ife Head linking Benin history to that of ancient city of Ile-Ile pp.
There are the plaque pieces; those depicting the reverence and mythical being of the Oba p. Other pieces include royal alter objects on pages , objects depicting individuals- a Portuguese p. Each of the pieces is accompanied with a brief resume which includes size, period or date, present location of the object, motive and interpretation. To the extent that the book serves as a guideline on an art exhibition, the catalogue provides illuminating information and commentary on these beautifully displayed master pieces of African cultural milieu.
The brief history of ancient Benin Kingdom and how the cultural objects depict the semiotics of that culture and time are particularly noticeable. The plunder of these objects, the book notes, was the aftermath of British invasion of , leading to the looting and carting away of these cultural artifacts by the invading British army. In this regard, one would have expected the curator to inform the reading public efforts being made to return these objects to their place of origin, given the controversy this has generated overtime.
In any case, whatever omission that may have been committed, the compact, well-packaged book remains an invaluable source of information for art lovers, historians, tourists and general interest readers. This study is a very strong example of historical research on missionary ethnography in colonial Africa. It brings together a number of important subjects in colonial African history: the impact of writing on African intellectuals and languages, the role of metropolitan European concerns in shaping narratives about Africa, the links between scientific research and colonialism, and the interplay between Africans and Europeans in constructing knowledge in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The author warns his readers that his main concern will be the ways Swiss missionary Henri-Alexandre Junod created a wide body of anthropological, ecological, and linguistic knowledge about Tsonga-speaking people. In contrast to much of the literature that deals with European constructions of Africans, however, this book clearly shows how Africans in Mozambique and South Africa participated in the construction of botanical, ethnographic, and zoological knowledge.
Sharp class, religious, and regional differences divided Swiss intellectuals. Romantic ideas regarding the majesty and antiquity of the Alps furnished Swiss people with a common understanding of landscapes and national identity. Swiss writers contended that the Alps were a place where ancient beliefs and remnants of the past survived untouched by modernity. Junod and other Swiss missionaries applied these ideas to African landscapes and peoples. Furthermore, missionary work was a way for Swiss people to take pride in their nation. Pastors and scientists could present themselves as redeemers of Africans and serve the needs of progress without engaging in colonial expansion.
They were faced with a plethora of languages and varied African understandings of Christianity. Furthermore, missionaries were beset with personality conflicts, debates over languages and doctrine, and the unstable economic and political climate of the Transvaal and Southern Mozambique between and At first, Junod was horrified by many indigenous cultural practices once he arrived in Southern Africa.
However, his training in the natural sciences and his conception of the prehistoric nature of the Alps led him to different conclusions over time. Junod turned to analogies with Europe, maps, and the collecting of botanical and zoological knowledge as a means mastering African landscapes.
Junod believed that they had discovered the rules of Tsonga language and Tsonga society in much the same way he believed he had uncovered botanical and zoological categories. By formulating rules of grammar and vocabulary lists, Junod hoped to domesticate the Tsonga language and to instil European modes of thought into Tsonga culture. African readers did not treat books and literacy in ways that missionaries expected. Book possession became a means of constructing alliances of Christians, and photographs of Tsonga converts often featured books.
African readers combined orality with literacy in ways that disturbed Junod at times, such as treating written messages as a form of power. Missionaries were equally disturbed by the social changes that came with Portuguese occupation and the rise of migrant labor on Tsonga people. Junod presented Tsonga society as static and orderly in his renowned monograph published in , Life of a South African Tribe. For him, Tsonga society was based on a coherent foundation of social practices, language, and knowledge of plants and animals.
He drew insights from contemporary anthropological writers like Emile Durkheim, even though French ethnographers criticized Junod for not adopting comparative approaches and making explicit moral judgements. However, Junod contended Africans should be shielded from the harmful effects of industrialization and European influences. As a result, he downplayed discussing the effects of migrant labor and the rising power of the Portuguese colonial state. While South African anthropologists critiqued Junod for his missionary views and lack of formal training, they too argued that African cultures based on tribes that had been stable before colonial rule but now were in danger of being destroyed by modernity.
Such ideas later would help shape the intellectual framework of the apartheid regime. Butterflies and Barbarians deserves a wide audience. Students in advanced undergraduate and graduate courses on African history, imperialism, and missionaries would find many insights here on the politics of knowledge in a colonial setting.
The book carefully treats the agency of Africans in the formation of literate Christian communities, even as it focuses on European understandings of African societies.
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Specialists would do well to use this study as a model for examining the social and political context of ethnographic research. All in all, this is an impressive work. This book is about the history of the British campaign against the internal slave trade in colonial Nigeria. It focuses on the Bight of Biafra and its hinterland, a region long buffeted by slavery and slave trading. In five chapters, Afigbo skillfully demonstrates how the export trade in palm oil, missionary expansion, and British ideas of civilization, undermined slavery and the internal slave trade in the region.
Afigbo shows that the abolition of the internal slave trade in southeastern Nigeria took three distinct stages.
The first phase, often characterized with a language of philanthropy, humanitarianism, and evangelicalism, concerns the period This phase the subject of chapter one was dominated by the British navy, which policed the West African Atlantic coastline, seizing ships that carried human cargo bound for the Americas. This initial campaign was largely on the sea with limited action to enforce the ban on the mainland.
The coastal phase of the campaign c instituted a tighter control of coastal towns and cities. During this period, the British government and its agents had started to advance British economic and political interests in the African interior. For example, in , Britain appointed a resident agent as consul to oversee and protect British interest in the Bights of Benin and Biafra.
This British establishment overtime grew from strength to strength. Even though the British agents were stationed mainly in coastal towns, it enabled Britain to gradually consolidate its imperial authority in the Biafran frontier. The final phases of the campaign described what happened during the colonial period proper i. This period witnessed the British advance into the heart of the Biafran hinterland. This coincided with the declaration of a Protectorate Government, a by-product of the use of military force or conquest.
The entire region was apportioned into divisions and districts, each with its own headquarters, courts, military post and colonial staff They entered the Biafran hinterland, creating awareness among the interior peoples how unviable slave dealing was. In this way, Afigbo argues that they helped to pave the way for the gradual decline of the trade. Afigbo argues that without the African middlemen, the abolition of the internal slave trade by the colonial government would have been slow, if not tedious p. The missionaries, especially the Church Missionary Society CMS and the Presbyterians, also played an instrumental role in depressing the internal slave trade.
In fact, Afigbo argues that their activities in the Biafra were by nature anti-slave trade. They also preached their doctrine of the equality of all men, a message which supposedly undermined the nefarious trade. To what extent were they an organized group? Many scholars have used instances of such brutality to criticize European colonialism in Africa.
Yet, while such instances of colonial violence and brutality occurred and were inhumane, Afigbo shows that the British actions also had a profound impact in transforming Biafran society and modes of economic interaction to replace slavery. After the British passed the Roads and Creeks Proclamation in , a huge burden of work was imposed on the adult male population, the class of people usually involved in slave raiding and kidnapping. Adult males took to hiding instead of wandering around. The proclamation required an adult male work for the colonial government for six days in each quarter.
It did not also spare the freeborn from brutal treatment to which workers were subjected to. By subjecting all workers to similar brutal treatment, the colonial government indirectly undermined the social prestige of acquiring and owning slaves, even if it did not undermine the economic value of slaves Finally, most of the literature on the slave trade in Africa focuses on the external slave trades i.
Historical Dictionary of Sierra Leone. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, But what exactly is a historical dictionary meant to accomplish?
However, contemporary historical dictionaries are becoming more thematic and inclusive of diverse foci such as religion, culture, and language. Whatever the definition scope, comprehensiveness and cross-referencing of entries are prime to such works. A survey of historical dictionaries pertaining to Africa reflects a few in numbers and large time gaps between editions.
This is particularly true for historical dictionaries on Sierra Leone. To date there have been only two, with the second arriving 29 years after the first. Nevertheless, the second historical dictionary on Sierra Leone effectively redeems the lost time. Magbaily Fyle is evident in its coverage of persons, academic institutions, ethnic groups, political parties, and important events. The book is well structured with the inclusion of a chronological sequence of events. A sizable and informative introduction offers brief insights into the land and its affairs, including the recent war.
The core of the volume is an extensive dictionary supplemented by a subject- based bibliography at the end. This wide-reaching historical review is expected of an author who is known for his writings on Africa in general and Sierra Leone in particular. With eight books and a score of articles, this latest of C. The usefulness of this volume stretches far beyond a point of reference for historians and history scholars. For anyone interested in learning about Sierra Leone, the book is a good starting point for a brief overview into a large array of topics including many important figures and events that have shaped the country.
This is important as the country goes through postwar reconstruction and continues to receive increased international attention and research interest. The greatest point of value for Historical Dictionary of Sierra Leone comes from the subject- based bibliography at the end of the book. Certainly, this is far from the complete list of key references. Furthermore, the author has omitted unpublished sources which may compromise the integrity of a good volume. Much of the information contained within the book e.
Islam in Sierra Leone , is beyond the scope of a history class in primary schools in Sierra Leone. For this reason, the book provides a valuable background to a number of contemporary issues and events that can be pursued by young Sierra Leoneans. The same can be stated about the numerous historical figures found within the book, but missing in history lessons in Sierra Leonean primary schools. Clearly written and well organized, the presentation is also a plus for this volume.
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As a follow up to its predecessor, Historical Dictionary of Sierra Leone introduces an improved amount of new entries missing in the previous volume. However, still missing as in the previous volume is I. There are also subtle issues which take away from the great work put into this volume.
The lack of consistency in presenting entries in alphabetical order e. Fula Mansa, Marlay Bokari, and Kande , is only compounded by a missing book index. The lack of separate entries for such items as the Bundo female secret society presents cross-referencing problems. Highly political and cultural in context, the volume fails to cover major religious institutions such as the St.
By unknown criteria, some educational institutions make the entries and others do not. Coverage of education within this volume is deficient without an entry for the Rio Pongas Mission or the Reverend Thomas Davy, an influential colonial educationist. Particularly frustrating for anyone searching for factual information, are the levels of subjectivity to be found within this volume.
This is not surprising because oral tradition plays an important role in nearly all facets of Sierra Leonean life. The shortcomings of Historical Dictionary of Sierra Leone show how difficult a task it is to compile such a volume. Some of these variables seem to have played a role in the quality of this literary output. Nonetheless, Historical Dictionary of Sierra Leone stands as one of only two historical dictionaries relating to Sierra Leone.
Magbaily Fyle has yet again accomplished a mammoth task of educating us about Sierra Leone. Case in point, the volume is not an option for a history book on Sierra Leone.
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Rather, it is a great source for anyone looking for a general overview of the country, but particularly those who know what they are looking for. William Augustus Sawyerr, Jr. University of Sheffield George O. Culture and Customs of Mozambique. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, In doing so, each volume follows a uniform format. However, in doing so, the volume shows great light and shadow of quality.
Bloomington: Indiana University Press, c A35 D5 African film and literature: adapting violence to the screen.
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Dovey, Lindiwe. New York: Columbia University Press, c A35 D68 African film and video: pleasure, politics, performance. Special issue of Journal of African Cultural Studies 22 1 African film: new forms of aesthetics and politics. New York: Prestel, c A35 D53 African film: re-imagining a continent. Gugler, Josef.
A35 G77 African Studies Review 53 3 , December Black African Cinema. Ukadike, Nwachukwu Frank. Berkeley University of California Press, A35U4 The devil you dance with: film culture in the new South Africa. McCluskey, Audrey Thomas ed. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, c S6 D48 Dictionary of African filmmakers.
Armes, Roy. A The empire writes back: theory and practice in post-colonial literatures. New York: Routledge, c A85 Focus on African film s. A35 F63 Francophone African cinema: history, culture, politics and theory. Jefferson, N. A35 F75 Ghanavision: hand-painted film posters from Ghana. Yaro, Abdou Salam. University of Florida, Noir urbanisms: dystopic images of the modern city. Prakash, Gyan ed. Princeton, N. F54 N68 Ebong, Thomas S. Wayne State University, Subaltern migrancy and transnational locality: the undocumented african immigrant in international cinema.