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History > African History > East Africa
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.
Land, Charity, and Romance
Diani, a coastal town on the Indian Ocean, is significantly defined by a large European presence that has spurred economic development and is also supported by close relationships between Kenyans and European immigrants and tourists. Nina Berman looks carefully at the repercussions that these economic and social interactions have brought to life on the Kenyan coast. She explores what happens when poorer and less powerful members of a community are forced to give way to profit-based real estate development, what it means when most of Diani’s schools and water resources are supplied by funds from immigrants, and what the impact of mixed marriages is on notions of kinship and belonging as well as the economy. This unique story about a small Kenyan town also recounts a wider tale of opportunity, oppression, resilience, exploitation, domination, and accommodation in a world of economic, political, and social change.
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.
Intellectual Adventurism, Politics and International Relations
This book thematically tackles issues that relate to the perpetual struggle between the forces of control and the forces of mental and intellectual liberation in Africa and Kenya in particular. The book addresses the colonial legacy of poverty creation, as well as the socio-political conditioning of Africans to dislike each other and to be irresponsible and disunited in the face of external threats. Poverty, hatred of other Africans, and excessive dependency on European powers can be traced to the policies adopted by colonial officials. Related to these issues, is post-colonial Kenya's attempts to addresses the political developments, the involvement of different types of media in those developments, Kenya's foreign policy, and the problem of political party transition. Ultimately, there are topical issues that continue to affect Kenya which include the question of coalition politics, the lessons of the 2002 elections, the media and corruption, parliament and foreign policy, and Africa's relations with the United States of America.
A History of Landscape Memory in Tanzania from Earliest Time to the Present
Imagining Serengeti allows us to see the Serengeti landscape as a book of memory that preserves the ways in which western Serengeti peoples have actively transformed their environment and their societies. Moreover, it strengthens the case for involving local communities in conservation efforts that will preserve African environments for the future. Using a new methodology to analyze precolonial oral traditions, Jan Shetler identifies core spatial images, which are then recontextualized into historical time periods through the use of archaeological, linguistic, ethnographic, ecological, and archival evidence. Imagining Serengeti reconstructs a socioenvironmental history of landscape memory of the western Serengeti spanning the last eighteen hundred years.
The Sufi Order in Tanzania
Islam and Politics in East Africa was first published in 1980. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Focusing on the interplay of religion, society, and politics, August Nimtz examines the role of sufi tariqas (brotherhoods) in Tanzania, where he observed an African Muslim society at first hand. Nimtz opens this book with a historical account of Islam in East Africa, and in subsequent chapters analyzes the role of tariqas in Tanzania and, more specifically, in the coastal city of Bagamoyo. Using a conceptual framework derived from contemporary political theories on social cleavages and individual interests. Nimtz explains why the tariqa is important in the process of political change.
The fundamental cleavage in Muslim East Africa, he notes, is that of "whites" versus blacks. Nimtz contends that the tariqus, in serving the interest of blacks (that is, Africans), became in turn vehicles for the mass mobilization of African Muslims during the anti-colonial struggle. In Bagamoyo he finds a similar process and, in addition, reveals that the tariqas have served African interests in opposition to those of "whites" because of the individual benefits they provide. At the same time, Nimtz concludes, the social structure of East African Muslim society has ensured that Africans would be particularly attracted to these benefits. This work will interest both observers of African political development and specialists in the Islamic studies.
Kenya has been the object of much controversy among students of African politics. Some view it as one of the greatest "successes" of the post-independence period; others see it as an example of all that is wrong with African development. Henry Bienen approaches this controversy by asking whether the concept of political participation has been properly understood in the African context.
His case study of political participation in Kenya discusses administration, party politics, ethnicity, and class. He suggests that in a system dominated by elites, individuals and groups exert influence primarily through patron-client networks and local administrative and party organs. Local politics is the most important arena for most people, it is argued. As long as the regime adopts policies which maximize economic growth and take account of peasant middle and small holders, and as long as individual representatives can be replaced even though no change of regime occurs, limited political participation leads to political stability.
Originally published in 1977.
The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
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.