Roads Through Mwinilunga

A History of Social Change in Northwest Zambia


Roads through Mwinilunga provides a historical appraisal of social change in Northwest Zambia from 1750 until the present. By looking at agricultural production, mobility, consumption, and settlement patterns, existing explanations of social change are reassessed. Using a wide range of archival and oral history sources, Iva Peša shows the relevance of Mwinilunga to broader processes of colonialism, capitalism, and globalisation. Through a focus on daily life, this book complicates transitions from subsistence to market production and dichotomies between tradition and modernity. Roads through Mwinilunga is a crucial addition to debates on historical and social change in Central Africa.

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Iva Peša, Ph.D. (2014), Leiden University, is a Research Associate in Environmental History at the University of Oxford. She has published extensively on Mwinilunga, including in The Objects of Life in Central Africa (Brill, 2013).
'[...] I find Iva Peša’s new book praiseworthy and worthwhile reading for any scholar interested in both the larger theme of social change as well as the lesser topics that she covers." [...]

Paul David Wilkin, Anthropology Southern Africa, 43:1, 61-63

'[...] Peša’s research serves as convincing proof of the nonlinear, nondirectional, and evolutionary (continuous) rather than revolutionary (intermittent) nature of the historical process, even under such seemingly punctuated developments as transitions from precolonialism to colonialism and from colonialism to postcolonialism. It is an extremely valuable conclusion that is very well grounded by Peša both in theory and in her analysis of the evidence' [...].
'[...] Peša's book promises to become a much welcome contribution not only to Zambian studies but also to fields beyond. (...) An exceptionally detailed and nuanced description of social change in concrete cultures in changing historical situations, Roads through Mwinilunga is a significant text for theorists in the social sciences who study general trends of institutional transformations.'[...]

Dmitri M. Bondarenko, Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Published on H-Africa (November, 2020)
List of illustrations


1 Paths to the Past: Continuity and Change in Mwinilunga, c. 1750s–1970s
2 Production: Crops, Meat, and Markets
3 Mobility
4 Consumption: Goods, Wealth, and Meaning
5 Settlements and Social Change: Continuity and Change in Village Life


All those interested in the history of Central Africa, especially in aspects of agricultural production, mobility, consumption, and social change.
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