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African Ethnographic Studies of the 20th Century


About the Series

Routledge is delighted to be re-issuing 79 volumes originally published between 1931 and 1988 in association with the International African Institute. Unavailable outside a few key libraries, many of these republished volumes were at the cutting edge of a fieldwork and ethnographic revolution in African anthropology in the decades after 1930. It involved the production of a wide body of fieldwork-based ethnographic documentation about the cultures of the different societies in Africa. Secondly, it saw a methodological turn to intense, localized investigations of cultural tradition and social change in a rapidly modernizing context. These investigations involved a more sustained and systematic, more professional and ‘scientific’ form of immersion and participant observation, than anything that had gone before. The sites of engagement were urban as well as rural; the pioneering researchers were female as well as male. No longer was the journal essay the repository of the latest research in the discipline, but rich ethnographies running into hundreds of pages.

The volumes are supplemented with maps, which will be available to view on https://www.routledge.com/ or available as pdfs from the publishers.

 

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The Bavenda

The Bavenda

1st Edition

By Hugh Stayt
April 28, 2020

Originally published in 1931 this book was the first detailed ethnographic study of the Bavenda people. It pays particular attention to the double system of kinship groups which is unusual among the Bantu peoples. Richly illustrated with over 60 black and white plates, this books discusses the ...

The Changing Economy of the Lower Volta 1954-67 A Study in the Dynanics of Rural Economic Growth

The Changing Economy of the Lower Volta 1954-67: A Study in the Dynanics of Rural Economic Growth

1st Edition

By Rowena M. Lawson
April 28, 2020

Originally published in 1972 this study analyses the process of economic growth and social change in the riparian communities of the Lower Volta River in Ghana, which came about in large part due to the construction of the Volta dam in 1963. With its completion many of the riparian communities were...

The Chiga of Western Uganda

The Chiga of Western Uganda

1st Edition

By May M. Edel
April 28, 2020

Originally published in 1957, this is an account of the Chiga, a Bantu tribe of Western Uganda. The Chiga are an independent farming people who have no tribal organization, and unlike the neighbouring East African peoples of a similar culture, no caste system. For this reason they are of particular...

The Development of Indigenous Trade and Markets in West Africa Studies Presented and Discussed at the Tenth International African Seminar at Fourah Bay College, Freetown, December 1969

The Development of Indigenous Trade and Markets in West Africa: Studies Presented and Discussed at the Tenth International African Seminar at Fourah Bay College, Freetown, December 1969

1st Edition

By Claude Meillassoux
April 28, 2020

Originally published in 1971 and written in English and French, with summaries in both languages, the essays in this volume dsicuss the effects of internal economic and political conditions and of external relations on the development of trade and markets in West Africa from the period of the slave...

The Drums of Affliction A Study of Religious Processes Among the Ndembu of Zambia

The Drums of Affliction: A Study of Religious Processes Among the Ndembu of Zambia

1st Edition

By V. W. Turner
April 28, 2020

In this study of the Ndembu of Zambia, ritual is examined under two aspects: as a regulator of social relations over time and as a system of symbols. Social life is thereby given direction and meaning. An extended case-study of a series of ritual performances in the life of a single village ...

The Dynamics of Clanship Among the Tallensi Being the First Part of an Analysis of the Social Structure of a Trans-Volta Tribe

The Dynamics of Clanship Among the Tallensi: Being the First Part of an Analysis of the Social Structure of a Trans-Volta Tribe

1st Edition

By Meyer Fortes
April 28, 2020

Originally published in 1945, this book analyses Tale social structure at the level of corporate group organization. Tale culture is discussed primarily as the content of social relations and not in its own right. Customs, beliefs, conventional usages, religious values are examined as indices of ...

The Gurage A People of the Ensete Culture

The Gurage: A People of the Ensete Culture

1st Edition

By William A. Shack
April 28, 2020

Originally published in 1966 this study gives a detailed account of all aspects of Gurage life. An introductory chapter on South-West Ethiopia and the history of the area is followed by descriptions of Gurage settlements, ensete (banana-like plants) cultivation, kinship and marriage, the political ...

The Historian in Tropical Africa Studies Presented and Discussed at the Fourth International African Seminar at the University of Dakar, Senegal 1961

The Historian in Tropical Africa: Studies Presented and Discussed at the Fourth International African Seminar at the University of Dakar, Senegal 1961

1st Edition

Edited By Jan Vansina, R. Mauny, L. V. Thomas
April 28, 2020

Originally published in 1964 these papers discuss the recovery and critical interpretation of oral traditions and written documents, problems of dating and analysis of material from archaeological sites, the use of linguistic evidence, and methods of historical reconstruction concerning techniques,...

The Horse in West African History The Role of the Horse in the Societies of Pre-Colonial West Africa

The Horse in West African History: The Role of the Horse in the Societies of Pre-Colonial West Africa

1st Edition

By Robin Law
April 28, 2020

Originally published in 1980 and here re-issued with an updated preface, this book deals with the role of the horse in the societies of West Africa during the pre-colonial period. It traces the history of its introduction and its diffusion within West Africa, and examines the problems of ...

The Jakhanke The History of an Islamic Clerical People of the Senegambia

The Jakhanke: The History of an Islamic Clerical People of the Senegambia

1st Edition

By Lamin O. Sanneh
April 28, 2020

When originally published in 1979, this was the first comprehensive study of the Jakhanke in any language. Despite the 19th ambience of jihad, the Jakhanke maintined their tradition of consistent pacifism and political neutrality which is unique in Muslim Black Africa. Drawing on histories, ...

The Konkomba of Northern Ghana Edited From His Published and Unpublished Writings by Jack Goody

The Konkomba of Northern Ghana: Edited From His Published and Unpublished Writings by Jack Goody

1st Edition

By David Tait
April 28, 2020

Originally published in 1964 this book made available for the first time David Tait's writings on the Konkomba with whom he lived and worked for 5 years. Including some previously unpublished material, this volume discusses the political system of the Konkomba but includes aspects of social and ...

The Mugwe A Failing Prophet

The Mugwe: A Failing Prophet

1st Edition

By B. Bernardi
April 28, 2020

Originally published in 1959 this volume studies the ritual office of the Mugwe which was of great social significance among the Meru of the Central Province of Kenya and analyses the social changes and decline of the Mugwe which came about in the second half of the twentieth century. Until this ...

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