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Women, Memory, and Silence in Rwanda
In the aftermath of the 1994 genocide, Rwandan women faced the impossible—resurrecting their lives amidst unthinkable devastation. Haunted by memories of lost loved ones and of their own experiences of violence, women rebuilt their lives from “less than nothing.” Neither passive victims nor innate peacemakers, they traversed dangerous emotional and political terrain to emerge as leaders in Rwanda today. This clear and engaging ethnography of survival tackles three interrelated phenomena—memory, silence, and justice—and probes the contradictory roles women played in postgenocide reconciliation.
Based on more than a decade of intensive fieldwork, Genocide Lives in Us provides a unique grassroots perspective on a postconflict society. Anthropologist Jennie E. Burnet relates with sensitivity the heart-wrenching survival stories of ordinary Rwandan women and uncovers political and historical themes in their personal narratives. She shows that women’s leading role in Rwanda’s renaissance resulted from several factors: the dire postgenocide situation that forced women into new roles; advocacy by the Rwandan women’s movement; and the inclusion of women in the postgenocide government.
How Dialogue Constructs Moral Value in Post-Socialist Kilimanjaro
"All traders are thieves, especially women traders," people often assured social anthropologist Tuulikki Pietilä during her field work in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, in the mid-1990s. Equally common were stories about businessmen who had "bought a spirit" for their enrichment. Pietilä places these and similar comments in the context of the liberalization of the Tanzanian economy that began in the 1980s, when many men and women found themselves newly enmeshed in the burgeoning market economy. Even as emerging private markets strengthened the position of enterprising people, economic resources did not automatically lead to heightened social position. Instead, social recognition remained tied to a complex cultural negotiation through stories and gossip in markets, bars, and neighborhoods.
With its rich ethnographic detail, Gossip, Markets, and Gender shows how gossip and the responses to it form an ongoing dialogue through which the moral reputations of trading women and businessmen, and cultural ideas about moral value and gender, are constructed and rethought. By combining a sociolinguistic study of talk, storytelling, and conversation with analysis of gender, the political economy of trading, and the moral economy of personhood, Pietilä reveals a new perspective on the globalization of the market economy and its meaning and impact on the local level.
Winner, Aidoo-Snyder Prize, African Studies Association Women’s Caucus
A History of Luo and Bantu migrations to North Mara, (Tanzania) 1850-1950
This book is a compilation of oral histories about the movement of Luo and some Bantu-speaking peoples. It includes histories of many clans or ethnic groups, and how drought, warfare, disease, and competition over pastoral resources in western Kenya forced them to look for a land that they could call their own. Highly entertaining, the stories cross over from pre-colonial to post-colonial eras, with tales of fooling the colonial officers, winning battles and producing miracles. Although warriors and chiefs play a critical part in the stories so too do unlikely actors such as women, prophets, and common farmers. As one of the elders put it, ìWithout history you are like wild animalsÖ you need to know where you came from and who you are.î People with kinship connections to the ethnic groups represented here will delight in the references to places, people, kin groups and events. Residents of western Kenya will be able to trace some of their genealogies to North Mara and vice versa. Historians and anthropologists will find in this book a rich primary source for their own research. Those interested in cultural change will find this a fascinating case of Luo assimilation: events chronicled in this book are still underway and observable in communities today. Producing the text in both Swahili and English ensures that local people will have access to these histories for their own learning and on-going discussions about the past.
A History of Landscape Memory in Tanzania from Earliest Time to the Present
Magic and the Legacy of Slavery in Madagascar
Betafo, a rural community in central Madagascar, is divided between the descendants of nobles and descendants of slaves. Anthropologist David Graeber arrived for fieldwork at the height of tensions attributed to a disastrous communal ordeal two years earlier. As Graeber uncovers the layers of historical, social, and cultural knowledge required to understand this event, he elaborates a new view of power, inequality, and the political role of narrative. Combining theoretical subtlety, a compelling narrative line, and vividly drawn characters, Lost People is a singular contribution to the anthropology of politics and the literature on ethnographic writing.
The Making of Kenya’s Postcolonial Elite
In 1963 David P. Sandgren went to Kenya to teach in a small, rural school for boys, where he remained for the next four years. These were heady times for Kenyans, as the nation gained its independence, approved a new constitution, and held its first elections. In the school where Sandgren taught, the sons of Gikuyu farmers rose to the challenges of this post colonial era and, in time, entered Kenyan society as adults, joining Kenya’s first generation of post colonial elites.
In Mau Mau’s Children, Sandgren has reconnects with these former students. Drawing on more than one hundred interviews, he provides readers with a collective biography of the lives of Kenya’s first postcolonial elite, stretching from their 1940s childhood to the peak of their careers in the 1990s. Through these interviews, Mau Mau’s Children shows the trauma of growing up during the Mau Mau Rebellion, the nature of nationalism in Kenya, the new generational conflicts arising, and the significance of education and Gikuyu ethnicity on his students' path to success.
Swahili lecturer and author in Germany
This book presents a study of the life history of Mtoro bin Mwinyi Bakari (c. 1869 - 1927). Mtoro bin Mwinyi Bakari grew up and studied Islamic Sciences in Bagamoyo, Tanzania. He became a Swahili lecturer and author in Germany and is known to have written Desturi za Wasuaheli, an important work in Swahili culture. The book introduces the wider historical context of his writings, and, in particular, reconstructs the racism and discrimination in both the colonial and metropolitan contexts, features which negatively influenced his career and his life as a whole. The study also offers insights into contributions of the colonized to the study of African languages and cultures during this same historical context.
An African Church Comes of Age in Kirinyaga, Kenya (1912-2012)
Cultural memory and narrative theology are well-known hallmarks of postmodern constructivist thought. The authorís research into a century of Anglican history in the Mount Kenya region has helped to establish the little known village of Mutira on the world map of the history of Christianity in Africa. This book, a composition of African biographies and mission history, chronicles how the Anglican Church has carried out its work in Mutira area in the past 100 years.
The Paradox of a Fragmented City
Despite being a large capital city in Africa in terms of size and its regional role, Nairobi is an unrecognised entity. For the majority of its inhabitants, the capital of Kenya is a transit point rather than a dwelling place. Since its origins, Nairobi has been a city of migrants, more predisposed to their rural roots than to their current city status. It is a non-conforming town, which conceals its urbanity more than it claims it, and whose identity remains evasive. Nairobi presents itself as a mosaic of residential areas which bring to mind the cityís history. The racial segregation that stratified the development of the colonial city has today disappeared, but it has given way to a form of social segregation. One must, therefore, not seek a unique identity in Nairobi, but rather, several identitiesóthose of different communities that comprise the city and whose dynamics are seen at village and residential estate level. However, Nairobi is also a city that is contradictory. This East African capital city is often associated with slums and crime, and their increase and growth stigmatises the failure of urban policies. Therefore, it is at these cracks and fringes of the city that we should seek out the identities and dynamics that have shaped the city for a century. Nairobi is a fragmented city that can be understood in steps. The 13 contributory articles in Nairobi Today thus reveal the city. This multidisciplinary collective work invites us to gain entry into certain areas of the city, to visit its communities and to familiarise ourselves with its formal and informal institutions. This is a requirement in order to fully understand what makes Nairobi what it is today.
Lessons of the Tanganyika-Zanzibar Union
The Pan-Africanist debate is back on the historical agenda. The stresses and strains in the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar since its formation some forty years ago are not showing any sign of abating. Meanwhile, imperialism under new forms and labels continues to bedevil the continent in ever-aggressive, if subtle, ways. The political federation of East Africa, which was one of the main spin-offs of the Pan-Africanism of the nationalist period, is reappearing on the political stage, albeit in a distorted form of regional integration. It is in this context that the present study is situated. Backgrounding the major dramas of the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar this book studies the personalities involved and their politics, and includes an account of the Dodoma CCM conference that toppled President Jumbe. It is also a detailed legal analysis of the union incorporating powerful new material.