A History of Race in Muslim West Africa, 1600-1960 (African by Bruce S. Hall

By Bruce S. Hall

The mobilization of neighborhood principles approximately racial distinction has been very important in producing, and intensifying, civil wars that experience happened because the finish of colonial rule in the entire nations 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 within which blackness can be equated with slavery and non-blackness with predatory and uncivilized banditry. This publication strains 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 assets in French and oral interviews, Bruce S. corridor reconstructs an African highbrow background of race that lengthy predated colonial conquest, and which has endured to orient inter-African kin ever considering that.

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Extra resources for A History of Race in Muslim West Africa, 1600-1960 (African Studies)

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I argue in this book that the racial arguments deployed in the contemporary Sahel are much closer to local eighteenth- and nineteenth-century formulations than to twentieth-century European racial frameworks. This, it seems to me, poses a problem for some of the generalizations found in the Africanist literature about the relative newness of ethnic and racial categories in colonial Africa. Rather than look for the construction or invention of racial categories by European colonial officials, this book makes the argument that a particular configuration of race existed in the Sahel long before the arrival of Europeans.

But by focusing on written sources that permit analysis of the intellectual history of genealogy, slavery, and racial difference, I believe that this book is able to show the ways that these ideas developed and changed in the Sahel over a longer period of time (four centuries) than most oral methodologies permit. My approach allows me to demonstrate that the primary dynamic in the development of racial ideas in the Sahel was not the colonial construction of knowledge or the introduction of modern European ideas into an African milieu where they had hitherto been foreign.

34 Lewis, Race and Slavery, 56. See also Chouki El Hamel, “‘Race’, Slavery and Islam in Maghribi Mediterranean Thought: The Question of the Haratin in Morocco,” Journal of North African Studies 7, no. 3 (2002): 29–52; Powell, Different Shade. 35 Holt, Problem of Race, 20. 16 Introduction many places, including Sahelian West Africa, what was new looked an awful lot like what it was supposed to have replaced. colonialism and african identity I certainly do not wish to imply by this line of argument that the impacts of modern European ideas about race on other, non-European constructions of difference have been anything but profound.

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