From frontier to backwater : economy and society in the upper Senegal Valley (West Africa), 1850-1920 /
Andrew F. Clark.
Lanham, Md. : University Press of America, c1999.
xiii, 278 p. : maps ; 24 cm.
0761814388 (cloth: alk. ppr.)
More Details
Lanham, Md. : University Press of America, c1999.
0761814388 (cloth: alk. ppr.)
general note
Revised version of the author's Ph. D. thesis, Michigan State University, 1990, with title: Economy and society in the upper Senegal Valley, West Africa, 1850-1920.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [231]-278).
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2000-05-01:
Although economic historians of Senegal have tended to focus on the coastal areas, emphasizing European contact and the trans-Atlantic slave trade, Clark concentrates on the long-neglected interior. Transcending colonial boundaries, this regional study examines the upper Senegal river valley, encompassing eastern Senegambia and western Mali, exploring the interaction of ecology, economy, politics, and society from 1850 to 1920. The region was conquered by the French and transformed into an important export-producing area between 1850 and 1890. From 1890 to 1920, it was recast as a marginal labor reserve on the periphery of empire. Clark paints a complex picture, exploring the intricacies of ethnicity, social hierarchy, and economy. He examines the interaction of environmental conditions, local political strife, Islamic jihad, French conquest, African resistance and collaboration, and finally, the impact of military recruitment and labor migration on the history of the region. Clearly organized and fluidly written, this book makes an important contribution to West African regional history. It is recommended for all college and university libraries. E. S. Schmidt; Loyola College in Maryland
Review Quotes
Clark paints a complex picture, exploring the intricates of ethnicity, social hierarchy, and economy...Clearly organized and fluidly written, this book makes an important contribution to West African regional history.
It is based upon extensive archival research in the National Archives of Senegal and the National Archives of Mali, the author's interviews with informants in the Upper Senegal River valley and a combining of the secondary literature published up until c. 1989. The author has used these materials to produce a dense, well-documented socio-economic history of the Upper Senegal River region in the period 1850-1920. His work of synthesis fills a lacuna in the historiography of the western savanna.
...useful for scholars studying eastern Senegal and western Mali, particularly those who might wish to delve more deeply into the complex sociopolitical and economic circumstances of the region.>>>>
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Choice, May 2000
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Long Description
From Frontier to Backwater follows the interaction of politics, economy, society, and ecology in the upper Senegal valley from the middle of the nineteenth century through the end of World War I. During this turbulent period, the region was transformed from an export-producing area on the frontier of European expansion into a marginal labor reserve. The valley included the sparsely populated regions of Bundu, Khasso, and Gajaaga, along with the societies of Bambuk and Gidimaka in the transitional zone between the Sahara Desert and the Guinea rain forest. Over time, changing French interests constantly shifted the areas of importance, yet settlements along the water routes were generally larger, more economically diverse, and more commercialized. At the middle of the nineteenth century, the diversity and vitality of the economy, along with the growing colonial presence in the heartland, led to the recovery of the upper Senegal Valley after several ecological and war-induced crises. However, the entire region was gradually marginalized. A fall in gum prices, the severe famine of 1913-1914, intensive war recruitment and mobilization efforts, combined with increased permanent migration, sealed the fate of this valley on the periphery of the French colonial empire.

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