By Bruce S. Hall
The mobilization of neighborhood principles approximately racial distinction has been vital in producing, and intensifying, civil wars that experience happened because the finish of colonial rule in the entire international locations that straddle the southern fringe of the Sahara barren region. From Sudan to Mauritania, the racial different types deployed in modern conflicts frequently hearken again to an older historical past during which blackness will be equated with slavery and non-blackness with predatory and uncivilized banditry. This booklet lines the improvement of arguments approximately race over a interval of greater than 350 years in a single vital position alongside the southern fringe of the Sahara desolate tract: the Niger Bend in northern Mali. utilizing Arabic records held in Timbuktu, in addition to neighborhood colonial resources in French and oral interviews, Bruce S. corridor reconstructs an African highbrow heritage of race that lengthy predated colonial conquest, and which has persisted to orient inter-African family ever considering that.
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Additional resources for A History of Race in Muslim West Africa, 1600-1960
40 Writers on Africa have often gone even further in their arguments about the colonial construction – or invention – of ethnicities (or “tribalism” as it is sometimes termed). 41 Whether in the realm of caste or ethnicity, the colonial state has often been endowed with transformative power in ascribing subjectivities to those it ruled. 44 But even with a more complicated understanding of 40 Dirks, Castes of Mind, 5. 41 The seminal work on this theme is Terence Ranger, “The Invention of Tradition in Colonial Africa” in The Invention of Tradition, ed.
Of course, many configurations of ethnicity in Africa can be traced to the colonial period. 52 The important point here is that Africans brought rich vocabularies and developed concepts about the social world in which they lived into their relationships with Europeans, just as colonial officials carried a late-nineteenth century conceptual vocabulary of race, nation, and tribe. It was around the concepts that each side thought they shared in common that the most productive initial dialogue occurred.
28 I have found Thomas Holt’s work especially helpful in formulating this idea: Recognizing the relative plasticity of race and racism as concepts and their parasitic and chameleonlike qualities in practice, I have suggested that we might do better not to try to define or catalogue their content. . In doing its ‘work’ race articulates with (in the sense of relating to) and sometimes articulates for (in the sense of speaking for) other social phenomena, like class, gender, and nationality. 29 For the societies of the African Sahel that are the subject of this book, I do not have the luxury of putting aside the task of cataloging the content of racial ideas and the ways in which they adhere to larger systems of thought in that region, because this research has yet to be done.
A History of Race in Muslim West Africa, 1600-1960 by Bruce S. Hall