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The Culture of Colonialism

The Cultural Subjection of Ukaguru

T. O. Beidelman

Publication Year: 2012

What did it mean to be an African subject living in remote areas of Tanganyika at the end of the colonial era? For the Kaguru of Tanganyika, it meant daily confrontation with the black and white governmental officials tasked with bringing this rural people into the mainstream of colonial African life. T. O. Beidelman's detailed narrative links this administrative world to the Kaguru's wider social, cultural, and geographical milieu, and to the political history, ideas of indirect rule, and the white institutions that loomed just beyond their world. Beidelman unveils the colonial system's problems as it extended its authority into rural areas and shows how these problems persisted even after African independence.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: African Systems of Thought

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xxi

This work is the product of over fifty years pondering the nature of one East African society, the Kaguru. When I commenced fieldwork in 1957, Kaguru society was located in what was termed Tanganyika, a British United Nations mandated territory...


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pp. xxii-xxvii

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Introduction: Colonialism and Anthropology

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pp. 1-35

This is an ethnographic study of the colonial life of the Kaguru, most of whom lived in Ukaguru, a chiefdom in Kilosa district in east-central Tanganyika, British East Africa. Yet before considering colonial life in Ukaguru, I need to provide some account...

Part One: History

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pp. 37-81

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1. Kaguru and Colonial History: The Rise and Fall of Indirect Rule

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pp. 39-81

Ukaguru has a special colonial history in that it embodies a number of firsts.1 Ukaguru is the site of some of the earliest European settlements in mainland Tanzania and is where the first white child was born on the mainland...

Part Two: Colonial Life

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pp. 83-270

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2. Ukaguru 1957–58

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pp. 85-111

This volume is an account of political life in Ukaguru, Kilosa district, during the years prior to the end of British colonial rule. To make this political account convincing I preface it with information on the general social and economic life...

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3. The Kaguru Native Authority

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pp. 112-158

The Kaguru Native Authority is the official governing body of Ukaguru. It was the outcome of British policy to rule their African possessions through Indirect Rule, allowing the British to govern with minimal staff and funds while claiming...

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4. Court Cases: Order and Disorder

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pp. 159-195

A Kaguru chief’s court was ordinarily held every Saturday at the Native Authority courthouse, usually starting about nine or ten in the morning and continuing nonstop until about four or five in the afternoon. Occasionally court was held on additional...

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5. Subversions and Diversions: 1957–58

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pp. 196-232

This chapter is about discontent, about Kaguru striving to change their social world. In 1957–58 Indirect Rule and the Kaguru Native Authority were presented by those in power as manifestations of a social order redolent of Kaguru tradition...

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6. The World Beyond: Kaguru Marginality in a Plural World, 1957–61

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pp. 233-270

Ukaguru is the main subject of this book, but it needs to be seen within the larger context of the colonial system in which it was set, however insignificantly. For this reason, I here consider the chiefdom within the broader context...

Part Three: How It Ended and Where It Went

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pp. 271-299

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Epilogue: Independence and After

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pp. 273-285

This book is about the colonial experience in Ukaguru, and therefore by strict standards it should not consider events after December 1961, the beginning of Tanganyikan (Tanzanian) national independence. Yet the end of colonialism...

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pp. 286-299

This study is concerned with one small and relatively remote chiefdom in East Africa. In many ways this system was far more economically and politically undeveloped and insignificant than others that have been described in studies of colonial...


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pp. 301-315


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pp. 317-335


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pp. 337-371


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pp. 373-383

E-ISBN-13: 9780253002204
E-ISBN-10: 0253002206
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253002150

Page Count: 414
Illustrations: 6 maps
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: African Systems of Thought
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OCLC Number: 796384112
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Culture of Colonialism

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Great Britain -- Colonies -- Africa -- Cultural policy.
  • Great Britain -- Colonies -- Africa -- Administration.
  • Kaguru (African people) -- Politics and government.
  • Kaguru (African people) -- Ethnic identity.
  • Tanzania -- History -- To 1964.
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