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By Bruce S. Hall

The mobilization of neighborhood rules approximately racial distinction has been vital in producing, and intensifying, civil wars that experience happened because the finish of colonial rule in all the international locations that straddle the southern fringe of the Sahara desolate tract. From Sudan to Mauritania, the racial different types deployed in modern conflicts usually hearken again to an older historical past during which blackness should be equated with slavery and non-blackness with predatory and uncivilized banditry. This booklet lines the improvement of arguments approximately race over a interval of greater than 350 years in a single very important position alongside the southern fringe of the Sahara wilderness: the Niger Bend in northern Mali. utilizing Arabic files held in Timbuktu, in addition to neighborhood colonial resources in French and oral interviews, Bruce S. corridor reconstructs an African highbrow historical past of race that lengthy predated colonial conquest, and which has endured to orient inter-African family members ever given that.

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Extra info for A History of Race in Muslim West Africa, 1600-1960

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49 Amselle, Mestizo Logics, 16. 50 Pratt, Imperial Eyes, 7. 51 Glassman, “Sorting out the Tribes,” 402–3. 52 On this point, see Thomas Spear, “Neotraditionalism and the Limits of Invention in British Colonial Africa,” JAH 44 (2003): 3–27; Carolyn Hamilton, Terrific Majesty: The Powers of Shaka Zulu and the Limits of Historical Invention (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998), 3–4; Paul Nugent, “Putting the History Back into Ethnicity: Enslavement, Religion, and Cultural Brokerage in the Construction of Mandinka/Jola and Ewe/ Agotime Identities in West Africa, c.

As such, I use the term race throughout this book where it is analytically appropriate. This fulfills a heuristic value for readers and it makes historical comparison more feasible. There are many particularities to the ways that race works in the West African Sahel, but there are also a surprising number of similarities with other racial formations. My insistence on the use of the term race is designed to help the reader understand where local ideas articulate with wider social phenomena. It is, I think, almost unnecessary to point out that ideas of race, in whatever form, are constructions of human culture and not an objective reality.

17 If we take Hall, Holt, and Balibar’s ideas about the historicity of race seriously, it is fairly obvious that there are many historical contexts around the world where racisms have appeared. 18 To quote David Nirenberg again, “all racisms are attempts to ground discriminations, whether social, economic, or religious, in biology and reproduction. All claim a congruence of ‘cultural’ categories with ‘natural’ ones. 20 These ideas can be easily 15 Stuart Hall, “Race, Articulation and Societies Structured in Dominance,” in Race Critical Theories: Text and Context, ed.

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