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an Egyptian Sudanese conscript battalion with the French Army in Mexico, 1863-1867, and its survivors in subsequent African history
For several years, the armies of Napoleon III deployed some 450 Muslim Sudanese slave soldiers in Veracruz, the port of Mexico City. As in the other case of Western hemisphere military slavery (the West India Regiments, a British unit in existence 1795-1815), the Sudanese were imported from Africa in the hopes that they would better survive the tropical diseases that so terribly afflicted European soldiers. In both cases, the Africans did indeed fulfill these expectations. The mixture of cultures embodied by this event has piqued the interest of several historians, so it is by no means unknown. Hill and Hogg provide a particularly thorough, if unimaginative, account of this exotic interlude, explaining its background, looking in detail at the battle record in Mexico, and figuring out who exactly made up the battalion. Much in their account is odd and interesting, for example, the Sudanese superiority to Austrian troops and their festive nine-day spree in Paris on the emperor's tab. The authors also assess the episode's longer-term impact on the Sudan, showing that the veterans of Mexico, having learnt much from their extended exposure to French military practices, rose quickly in the ranks, then taught these methods to others.
Colonialism, Immigration, and Transnationalism
"[W]ithout a doubt one of the most important studies so far completed on literature in French grounded in the experiences of migrants of sub-Saharan African origin." -- Alec Hargreaves, Florida State University
France has always hosted a rich and vibrant black presence within its borders. But recent violent events have raised questions about France's treatment of ethnic minorities. Challenging the identity politics that have set immigrants against the mainstream, Black France explores how black expressive culture has been reformulated as global culture in the multicultural and multinational spaces of France. Thomas brings forward questions such as -- Why is France a privileged site of civilization? Who is French? Who is an immigrant? Who controls the networks of production? Black France poses an urgently needed reassessment of the French colonial legacy.
Legal and Political Pluralism in Eritrea
In Eritrea, state, traditional, and religious laws equally prevail, but any of these legal systems may be put into play depending upon the individual or individuals involved in a legal dispute. Because of conflicting laws, it has been difficult for Eritreans to come to a consensus on what constitutes their legal system. In Blood, Land, and Sex, Lyda Favali and Roy Pateman examine the roles of the state, ethnic groups, religious groups, and the international community in several key areas of Eritrean law -- blood feud or murder, land tenure, gender relations (marriage, prostitution, rape), and female genital surgery. Favali and Pateman explore the intersections of the various laws and discuss how change can be brought to communities where legal ambiguity prevails, often to the grave harm of women and other powerless individuals. This significant book focuses on how Eritrea and other newly emerging democracies might build pluralist legal systems that will be acceptable to an ethnically and religiously diverse population.
Issues in Conventional Boundaries and Ideological Frontiers
This book compromises 26 well-researched essays in honour of Professor Verkijika G. Fanso, who retired in 2011 after over 36 years of distinguished service at universities in Cameroon. Contributors include colleagues, former students and close collaborators in Cameroon and beyond. Contributions cover a wide range of issues related to the contested histories, politics and practices of boundaries and frontiers in Africa. These are themes on which Fanso has researched, published and taught extensively, and earned international recognition as a leading scholar. The book explores, inter alia, indigenous and endogenous practices of boundary making in Africa; as well as colonial and contemporary traditions, practices and conflicts on and around frontiers. In particular focus, are disputed colonial boundaries between Cameroon and its neighbours. Issues of intra- and inter-disciplinary frontiers, politics and cultures are also addressed. The volume is crowned by a farewell valedictory lecture by Fanso. Like Fanso and his rich repertoire of publications, this bumper harvest of essays is without doubt, truly immortalising.
Race, Reform, and Tradition in Bahia
Romo examines ideas of race in key cultural and public arenas through a close analysis of medical science, the arts, education, and the social sciences. As she argues, although Bahian racial thought came to embrace elements of Afro-Brazilian culture, the presentation of Bahia as a living museum threatened by social change portrayed Afro-Bahian culture and modernity as necessarily at odds. Romo's finely tuned account complicates our understanding of Brazilian racial ideology and enriches our knowledge of the constructions of race across Latin America and the larger African diaspora. Brazil's northeastern state of Bahia has built its economy around attracting international tourists to what is billed as the locus of Afro-Brazilian culture and the epicenter of Brazilian racial harmony. Chronicling the period from the abolition of slavery in 1888 to the start of Brazil's military regime in 1964, Romo uncovers how the state's nonwhite majority moved from being a source of embarrassment to being a critical component of Bahia's identity.
Political Evolution and State Formation in Pre-Colonial Zambia
Bulozi under the Luyana Kings is a study of the Lozi Kingdom in Western Zambia in the pre-colonial period. The study traces the origins of the Luyana and the Lozi people; the founding of the Luyana Central Kingship and the invasion by the Makololo in the mid-nineteenth century; and ends with the study of the Lozi response to European intrusion at the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Bulozi under the Luyana Kings was first published in 1973 by Longman, London. After wide consultations at home and abroad, the book is now republished in its original form.
The United States, the Horn of Africa, and the Demise of Détente
When the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) between the Soviet Union and United States faltered during the administration of Jimmy Carter, National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski claimed that “SALT lies buried in the sands of the Ogaden.” How did superpower détente survive Vietnam but stumble in the Horn of Africa? Historian Louise Woodroofe takes Brzezinski’s claim as a starting point to analyze superpower relations during the 1970s, and in so doing she reveals how conflict in East Africa became a critical turning point in the ongoing Cold War battle for supremacy.
Despite representing the era of détente, the 1970s superficially appeared to be one of Soviet successes and American setbacks. As such, the Soviet Union wanted the United States to recognize it as an equal power. However, Washington interpreted détente as a series of agreements and compromises designed to draw Moscow into an international system through which the United States could exercise some control over its rival, particularly in the Third World. These differing interpretations would prove to be the inherent flaw of détente, and nowhere was this better demonstrated than in the conflict in the Horn of Africa in 1974–78.
The Ogaden War between Ethiopia and Somalia involved a web of shifting loyalties, as the United States and Soviet Union alternately supported both sides at different points. Woodroofe explores how the war represented a larger debate over U.S. foreign policy, which led Carter to take a much harder line against the Soviet Union. In a crucial post-Vietnam test of U.S. power, the American foreign policy establishment was unable to move beyond the prism of competition with the Soviet Union.
The conflict and its superpower involvement turned out to be disasters for all involved, and many of the region’s current difficulties trace their historic antecedents to this period. Soviet assistance propped up an Ethiopian regime that terrorized its people, reorganized its agricultural system to disastrous effects in the well-known famines of the 1980s, and kept it one of the poorest countries in the world. Somalia’s defeat in the Ogaden War started its descent into a failed state. Eritrea, which had successfully fought Ethiopia prior to the introduction of Soviet and Cuban assistance, had to endure more than a decade more of repression.
French Protestant Responses to the Algerian War, 1954-1962
Initially, when the government in Paris responded with force to the November 1, 1954 insurrection of Algerian nationalists, French public opinion offered all but unanimous support. Then it was revealed that hundreds of thousands of Muslims were herded into resettlement camps in Algeria; that Algerians suspected of nationalist sympathies were imprisoned in France; that conscientious objectors were denied their rights; and that a resolution to the conflict, either by force or by peaceful methods, was not forthcoming. When it was proven that the army was guilty of abuses, members of the Protestant minority protested and then laboured to educate their own communities as well as the public at large to the moral and spiritual perils of these actions.
Based on painstaking research and solid scholarship, The Call of Conscience: French Protestant Responses to the Algeria War, 1954-1962 reveals a rich portrait of the protest.
In this carefully thought-through anthology, Bole Butake brings Cameroonian poets of different generations, gender, regions, backgrounds and interests into conversation not only among themselves but more especially with poets from other parts of Africa and the world. This is a testament on the universality of poetry. It is an invitation for those in tune with poetry to reaffirm its magic and to spread the warmth of its embrace in celebration of a common and boundless humanity.