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Two Thousand Years in Dendi, Northern Benin

Archaeology, History and Memory

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Edited by Anne Haour

In Two Thousand Years in Dendi, Northern Benin an international team examines a little-known part of the Niger River valley, West Africa, over the longue durée. This area, known as Dendi, has often been portrayed as the crossroads of major West African medieval empires but this understanding has been based on a small number of very patchy historical sources. Working from the ground up, from the archaeological sites, standing remains, oral traditions and craft industries of Dendi, Haour and her team offer the first in-depth account of the area.

Contributors are: Paul Adderley, Mardjoua Barpougouni, Victor Brunfaut, Louis Champion, Annalisa Christie, Barbara Eichhorn, Anne Filippini, Dorian Fuller, Olivier Gosselain, David Kay, Nadia Khalaf, Nestor Labiyi, Raoul Laibi, Richard Lee, Veerle Linseele, Alexandre Livingstone Smith, Carlos Magnavita, Sonja Magnavita, Didier N'Dah, Nicolas Nikis, Sam Nixon, Franck N’Po Takpara, Jean-François Pinet, Ronika Power, Caroline Robion-Brunner, Lucie Smolderen, Abubakar Sule Sani, Romuald Tchibozo, Jennifer Wexler, Wim Wouters.

African Countries and the Global Scramble for China

A Contribution to Africa’s Preparedness and Rehearsal

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Ngonlardje Kabra Mbaidjol

In this new book on Africa-China relations, Ngonlardje Kabra Mbaidjol strongly engages in the heated debates on African cooperation with China, an increassingly rich and powerful partner. The current dominant view highlights the neo-colonial and exploitative nature of these relations with a denial of any positive results for African people. However, the growing China-Africa partnership took its roots at Bandung 1955 conference, to culminate with an overt competition between China and other nations over African resources. For many, "a new scramble for Africa" emerges. The author argues there is rather a "global scramble for China," a fierce battle to get the PRC's kind attention. Africa is right to engage the struggle to access China's development funding. Africa may wish to avoid being distracted by rival voices, but to endeavor doing its own homework and rehearse for the global competiton, in the only interest of African people. Mbaidjol's book unpacks Africa's preparedness and rehearsal strategy.

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Janice P. De-Whyte

In Wom(b)an: A Cultural-Narrative Reading of the Hebrew Bible Barrenness Narratives Janice Pearl Ewurama De-Whyte offers a reading of the Hebrew Bible barrenness narratives. The original word “wom(b)an” visually underscores the centrality of a productive womb to female identity in the ANE and Hebrew contexts. Conversely, barrenness was the ultimate tragedy and shame of a woman. Utilizing Akan cultural custom as a lens through which to read the Hebrew barrenness tradition, De-Whyte uncovers another kind of barrenness within these narratives. Her term “social barrenness” depicts the various situations of childlessness that are generally unrecognized in western cultures due to the western biomedical definitions of infertility. Whether biological or social, barrenness was perceived to be the greatest threat to a woman’s identity and security as well as the continuity of the lineage. Wom(b)an examines these narratives in light of the cultural meanings of barrenness within traditional cultures, ancient and present.

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Edited by Felicity Hand and Esther Pujolràs-Noguer

Writers of Indian origin seldom appear in the South African literary landscape, although the participation of Indian South Africans in the anti-apartheid struggle was anything but insignificant. The collective experiences of violence and the plea for reconciliation that punctuate the rhythms of post-apartheid South Africa delineate a national script in which ethnic, class, and gender affiliations coalesce and patterns of connectedness between diverse communities are forged. Relations and Networks in South African Indian Writing brings the experience of South African Indians to the fore, demonstrating how their search for identity is an integral part of the national scene’s project of connectedness. By exploring how ‘Indianness’ is articulated in the South African national script through the works of contemporary South African Indian writers, such as Aziz Hassim, Ahmed Essop, Farida Karodia, Achmat Dangor, Shamim Sarif, Ronnie Govender, Rubendra Govender, Neelan Govender, Tholsi Mudly, Ashwin Singh, and Imraan Coovadia, along with the prison memoirists Dr Goonam and Fatima Meer, the book offers a theoretical model of South–South subjectivities that is deeply rooted in the Indian Ocean world and its cosmopolitanisms. Relations and Networks demonstrates convincingly the permeability of identity that is the marker of the Indian Ocean space, a space defined by ‘relations and networks’ established within and beyond ethnic, class, and gender categories.


CONTRIBUTORS
Isabel Alonso–Breto, M.J. Daymond, Felicity Hand, Salvador Faura, Farhad Khoyratty, Esther Pujolràs–Noguer, J. Coplen Rose, Modhumita Roy, Lindy Stiebel, Juan Miguel Zarandona

Law and Property in Algeria

Anthropological Perspectives

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Edited by Yazid Ben Hounet

In spite of its privileged place on the African continent, in the Muslim world and in the Middle East and North Africa region, Algeria remains poorly known, and the works relating to contemporary Algerian society published outside of Algeria are rare. This book seeks to contribute to our understanding of Algerian society today, through its relationships to property and to law. Beyond this, the objective is to propose, in a comparative perspective proper to anthropology, new theoretical and methodological perspectives by which to apprehend the anthropology of law in a Muslim context. Algeria, as a post-colonial and post-Socialist State, whose population is overwhelmingly Muslim, proves to be a particularly interesting case to study.

Contributors are: Hichem Amichi, Emilie Barraud, Ammar Belhimer, Yazid Ben Hounet, Nejm Benessaiah, Sami Bouarfa, Tarik Dahou, Baudouin Dupret, Marcel Kuper, Judith Scheele, Alice Wilson.

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Edited by Robert Aleksander Maryks and Festo Mkenda, S.J.

Protestants entering Africa in the nineteenth century sought to learn from earlier Jesuit presence in Ethiopia and southern Africa. The nineteenth century was itself a century of missionary scramble for Africa during which the Jesuits encountered their Protestant counterparts as both sought to evangelize the African native. Encounters between Jesuits and Protestants in Africa, edited by Robert Alexander Maryks and Festo Mkenda, S.J., presents critical reflections on the nature of those encounters in southern Africa and in Ethiopia, Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Fernando Po. Though largely marked by mutual suspicion and outright competition, the encounters also reveal personal appreciations and support across denominational boundaries and thus manifest salient lessons for ecumenical encounters even in our own time.

This volume is the result of the second Boston College International Symposium on Jesuit Studies held at the Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa (Nairobi, Kenya) in 2016. Thanks to generous support of the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies at Boston College, it is available in Open Access.

What Politics?

Youth and Political Engagement in Africa

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Edited by Elina Oinas, Henri Onodera and Leena Suurpää

What Politics? Youth and Political Engagement in Africa examines the diverse experiences of being young in today’s Africa. It offers new perspectives to the roles and positions young people take to change their life conditions both within and beyond the formal political structures and institutions. The contributors represent several social science disciplines, and provide well-grounded qualitative analyses of young people’s everyday engagements by critically examining dominant discourses of youth, politics and ideology. Despite focusing on Africa, the book is a collective effort to better understand what it is like to be young today, and what the making of tomorrow’s yesterday means for them in personal and political terms.

Contributors are: Ehaab Abdou, Abebaw Yirga Adamu, Henni Alava, Päivi Armila, Randi Rønning Balsvik, Jesper Bjarnesen, Þóra Björnsdóttir, Jónína Einarsdóttir, Tilo Grätz, Nanna Jordt Jørgensen, Marko Kananen, Sofia Laine, Naydene de Lange, Afifa Ltifi, Ivo Mhike, Claudia Mitchell, Relebohile Moletsane, Danai S. Mupotsa, Elina Oinas, Henri Onodera, Eija Ranta, Mounir Saidani, Mariko Sato, Loubna H. Skalli, Tiina Sotkasiira, Abdoulaye Sounaye, Leena Suurpää, and Mulumebet Zenebe.

Essouk - Tadmekka

An Early Islamic Trans-Saharan Market Town

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Edited by Sam Nixon

Essouk-Tadmekka presents the first archaeological exploration of one of the most important market towns on the trans-Saharan camel-caravan routes in the early Islamic period, supplying West African gold, slaves, and ivory to the Mediterranean world. Excavation of Essouk-Tadmekka’s ruins – in Saharan West Africa – has enabled Sam Nixon and a team of scholars to better understand this town described by early Arabic geographers, therein providing insights into such wider questions as the origins of trans-Saharan trade, the commerce in gold, and the arrival of Islamic culture in West Africa. This window into the earliest period of trans-Saharan exchange includes illustration of some of the best-preserved ruins along the camel-caravan routes, the earliest-known Arabic writing in West Africa, and rare gold-working remains.

Contributors are: Stephanie Black, Sophie Desrosiers, Laure Dussubieux, Thomas Fenn, Dorian Fuller, James Lankton, Kevin MacDonald, Paulo de Moraes Farias, Mary-Anne Murray, Sam Nixon, Thilo Rehren, Peter Robertshaw, Jane Sidell, and Benoit Suzanne.

Droit musulman et société au Sahara prémoderne

La justice islamique dans les oasis du Grand Touat (Algérie) aux XVIIe – XIXe siècles

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Ismail Warscheid

La pratique du droit musulman est généralement considérée comme un phénomène urbain. À partir d’une analyse de recueils de fatwas inédits et d’autres manuscrits arabes provenant des oasis du Grand Touat (Sud algérien), Droit musulman et société au Sahara prémoderne remet en question cette vision des choses. L’ouvrage explore la diffusion d’institutions juridiques islamiques dans la région entre le XVIIe et le XIXe siècles, ainsi que l’interaction entre communautés villageoises et juristes musulmans. Pour sonder ce processus, Ismail Warscheid adopte une approche dialectique : il reconstitue les modalités de l’application de la charia par les cadis et muftis locaux et s’interroge sur les usages que les populations oasiennes font des tribunaux islamiques, de l’écriture notariale et de la consultation juridique.

Pre-modern Islamic legal practice is most often considered an essentially urban phenomenon. Relying on unedited fatwa collections and other Arabic manuscripts from the oasis of Tuwāt in southern Algeria, Droit musulman et société au Sahara prémoderne challenges this vision. The book explores the spread of Islamic legal institutions in the region between the seventeenth and the nineteenth centuries, and the interaction between village communities and Muslim jurists. Ismail Warscheid investigates this process from a dialectical perspective: how were sharʿī norms applied by local qadis and muftis, and how did local populations made use of court litigation, notarial certification, and legal consultation?

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Terrence L. Craig

The White Spaces of Kenyan Settler Writing provides an overview of Kenyan literature by white writers in the half-century before Independence in 1964. Such literature has been over-shadowed by that of black writers to the point of critical ostracism. It deserves attention for its own sake, as the expression of a community that hoped for permanence but suffered both disappointment and dispossession. It deserves attention for its articulation of an increasingly desperate colonial and Imperial situation at a time when both were being attacked and abandoned in Africa, as in other colonies elsewhere, and when a counter-discourse was being constructed by writers in Britain as well as in Africa. Kenya was likely the best-known twentieth-century colony, for it attracted publicity for its iconic safaris and its Happy Valley scandals. Yet behind such scenes were settlers who had taken over lands from the native peoples and who were trying to make a future for themselves, based on the labour, willing or forced, of those people. This situation can be seen as a microcosm of one colonial exercise, and can illuminate the historical tensions of such times. The bibliography is an attempt to collect the literary resources of white Kenya in this historically significant period.