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History > African History > East Africa
Racial Thought and Violence in Colonial Zanzibar
The Swahili coast of Africa is often described as a paragon of
transnational culture and racial fluidity. Yet, during a brief period in the 1960s,
Zanzibar became deeply divided along racial lines as intellectuals and activists,
engaged in bitter debates about their nation's future, ignited a deadly conflict
that spread across the island. War of Words, War of Stones explores how violently
enforced racial boundaries arose from Zanzibar's entangled history. Jonathon
Glassman challenges explanations that assume racial thinking in the colonial world
reflected only Western ideas. He shows how Africans crafted competing ways of
categorizing race from local tradition and engagement with the Atlantic and Indian
State Forestry and Social Conflict in Tanzania, 1820-2000
Forests have been at the fault lines of contact between African peasant communities in the Tanzanian coastal hinterland and outsiders for almost two centuries. In recent decades, a global call for biodiversity preservation has been the main challenge to Tanzanians and their forests.
Thaddeus Sunseri uses the lens of forest history to explore some of the most profound transformations in Tanzania from the nineteenth century to the present. He explores anticolonial rebellions, the world wars, the depression, the Cold War, oil shocks, and nationalism through their intersections with and impacts on Tanzania’s coastal forests and woodlands. In Wielding the Ax, forest history becomes a microcosm of the origins, nature, and demise of colonial rule in East Africa and of the first fitful decades of independence.
Wielding the Ax is a story of changing constellations of power over forests, beginning with African chiefs and forest spirits, both known as “ax–wielders,” and ending with international conservation experts who wield scientific knowledge as a means to controlling forest access. The modern international concern over tropical deforestation cannot be understood without an awareness of the long–term history of these forest struggles.