Catalogue


Writing and colonialism in northern Ghana : the encounter between the LoDagaa and "The world on paper" /
Sean Hawkins.
imprint
Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 2002.
description
xv, 468 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0802048722 :
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 2002.
isbn
0802048722 :
catalogue key
4720774
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2003-03-01:
Hawkins (Univ. of Toronto) reminds us that the pen was mightier than the Maxim machine gun in the 19th-century European conquest of Africa. His focus is on the Dagaare-speaking people in the middle reaches of the Black Volta River, who found themselves split into "two tribes"--the Lobi and the LoDagaa--when France and Britain recognized the river as their common colonial boundary. The Lobi lost their distinct identity in Burkina Faso, but the LoDagaa, still in the northwest corner of Ghana, have retained theirs, largely because it suited the purposes of British "indirect rule" to emphasize separateness. The British recognized (quite incorrectly) body scarification as tribal identification, and appointed "strong, native sergeant-major types" as "chiefs" who collected taxes, recruited labor, and generally lived like medieval robber barons. As English writing became dominant in LoDagaa lives, ancient LoDagaa customs receded and disappeared. Missionary tracts, colonial currency, and courts eventually replaced Earth shrines, cowries, and traditional conjugal arrangements. "The logic of writing replaced social practices with rules, belonging with blood, and the paths of the ancestors worn into the land with words written on paper." Excellent scholarship for advanced levels. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. General collections and upper-division undergraduates and above. W. W. Reinhardt Randolph-Macon College
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Choice, March 2003
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Summaries
Description for Reader
This book presents a new perspective on colonialism in Africa. Drawing on work from a variety of subjects and disciplines - from the ancient Mediterranean to colonial Spain, and from anthropology to psychology - the author argues that colonialism in Africa needs to be understood through the medium of writing and the particular world it belonged to. Focusing on the LoDagaa of northern Ghana and their relationship with British colonialism, Hawkins describes colonialism as an encounter between a world of experience - a world of knowledge, practice, and speech - and "the world on paper"" - a world of writing, rules, and a linear concept of history. The various ways in which "the world on paper" affected the LoDagaa are examined thematically. The first four chapters explore how writing imposed a form of historical consciousness on different aspects of LoDagaa culture - identity, politics, and religion - that was alien to them. The second half of the book examines how both the British colonial state and its postcolonial successor, the Ghanian state, attempted to regulate indigenous forms of knowledge, gender relations, and social reckoning through courts. This ambitious and richly detailed book will appeal to scholars and general readers interested in African history, British colonialism, and cultural and postcolonial studies.
Bowker Data Service Summary
By drawing on a variety of sources, from the ancient Mediterranean to colonial Spain and from anthropology to psychology, the author argues that colonialism in Africa needs to be understood through the medium of writing.
Description for Reader
This book presents a new perspective on colonialism in Africa. Drawing on work from a variety of subjects and disciplines – from the ancient Mediterranean to colonial Spain, and from anthropology to psychology – the author argues that colonialism in Africa needs to be understood through the medium of writing and the particular world it belonged to. Focusing on the LoDagaa of northern Ghana and their relationship with British colonialism, Hawkins describes colonialism as an encounter between a world of experience – a world of knowledge, practice, and speech – and "the world on paper"” – a world of writing, rules, and a linear concept of history. The various ways in which "the world on paper" affected the LoDagaa are examined thematically. The first four chapters explore how writing imposed a form of historical consciousness on different aspects of LoDagaa culture – identity, politics, and religion – that was alien to them. The second half of the book examines how both the British colonial state and its postcolonial successor, the Ghanian state, attempted to regulate indigenous forms of knowledge, gender relations, and social reckoning through courts. This ambitious and richly detailed book will appeal to scholars and general readers interested in African history, British colonialism, and cultural and postcolonial studies.
Table of Contents
List of Maps, Tables, and Figures
Preface
Introduction: Colonialism as an Encounter between "the World on Paper" and the World of Experiencep. 3
Ways of Appropriating the LoDagaap. 37
Maps and Narrativesp. 39
Labor, Bodies, and Namesp. 63
Political and Religious Ambiguitiesp. 105
Rewriting the Pastp. 107
Reimagining Godp. 138
The Colonization of Spacep. 163
Suppressing Knowledgep. 165
Missionary Medicine and Colonial Moneyp. 190
From Social Practice to Rhetoricp. 225
Women, Marriage, and Adulteryp. 227
Postcolonial Litigation of Personal Identitiesp. 277
Conclusion: Writing, Blood, and the Politics of Legitimacyp. 322
Notesp. 329
Bibliographyp. 423
Indexp. 447
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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