By Bruce S. Hall
The mobilization of neighborhood principles 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 barren region. From Sudan to Mauritania, the racial different types deployed in modern conflicts frequently hearken again to an older background during which blackness may be equated with slavery and non-blackness with predatory and uncivilized banditry. This ebook 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 heritage of race that lengthy predated colonial conquest, and which has persevered to orient inter-African family ever seeing that.
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Additional info for A History of Race in Muslim West Africa, 1600-1960
In West Africa and elsewhere, race is an abstraction and a form of argument; it is used for specific and concrete reasons to do particular kinds of social and political work. Many of the racial arguments discussed in this book invoke an inferiority attached to blacks. It was blackness that rendered one vulnerable to legitimate enslavement, to political domination, and to other kinds of legal disability. As I will show, such racial arguments often provoked explicitly antiracial responses; but it is nonetheless tempting to suggest that what this book seeks to explain is a structural discourse of antiblack racism over a very long period of time.
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.
1464–1492) who conquered Timbuktu in 1468, and Askia al-Hajj Muhammad Ture (r. 1493–1529) who founded a new dynasty, went on the pilgrimage to Mecca, and represents a much more explicitly Islamic direction in Songhay politics. In 1591, a Moroccan army sent across the Sahara defeated the forces of Songhay in a battle near the town of Tondibi, north of Gao. ”8 Within several decades of the conquest of the Niger Bend, this state had become more or less independent of Moroccan control, and the social and political elite descended from the Moroccan conquerors – the Arma – had become Songhayspeakers.