Conquest and Construction

Palace Architecture in Northern Cameroon


In Conquest and Construction Mark Dike DeLancey investigates the palace architecture of northern Cameroon, a region that was conquered in the early nineteenth century by primarily semi-nomadic, pastoralist, Muslim, Fulɓe forces and incorporated as the largest emirate of the Sokoto Caliphate. Palace architecture is considered first and foremost as political in nature, and therefore as responding not only to the needs and expectations of the conquerors, but also to those of the largely sedentary, agricultural, non-Muslim conquered peoples who constituted the majority population. In the process of reconciling the cultures of these various constituents, new architectural forms and local identities were constructed.

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Mark Dike DeLancey, Ph.D. (2004), Harvard University, is Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture at DePaul University. He is the coauthor of two editions of the Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Cameroon and the author of articles in such journals as JSAH, Cahiers d'études africaines, and Islamic Africa.
[...] 'this study furthermore emphasizes that architecture, African no less than any other, must be contextualized in order to better comprehend the history of forms and architectural decisions'.

Syprien Christian Zogo, Laval University, in African Studies Quarterly, Volume 17, Issue 4, February 2018, pp. 121-122

Transcription, Translation, and Transliteration


Chapter One: Architectural Form

Chapter Two: Political Symbolism

Chapter Three: Spatial Orientation

Chapter Four: Ritual Movement

Chapter Five: Secrecy



All interested in African studies, Islamic studies, history of art and architecture, nomadic societies. More specific interests include African architecture as well as the intersection of Islamic and non-Islamic, agricultural and pastoral, and nomadic and sedentary cultures.
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