Catalogue


Voices of the poor in Africa /
Elizabeth Isichei.
imprint
Rochester, N.Y. : University of Rochester Press, 2002.
description
ix, 287 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm.
ISBN
1580461077 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Rochester, N.Y. : University of Rochester Press, 2002.
isbn
1580461077 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
4782051
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 257-272) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Elizabeth Isichei is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2003-04-01:
Isichei (religious studies, Otago Univ., New Zealand) seeks to reconstruct "popular consciousness, past and present ... to make unheard voices audible and to understand familiar symbols in new ways." Part 1 of her book looks at contemporary and retrospective African ideas surrounding the Atlantic slave trade, including beliefs about white slavers as cannibals, enslaved souls as zombies laboring for whites, and slaves used as human bait to obtain cowries, a main currency of the slave trade. The much longer part 2 focuses on popular colonial and postcolonial notions (disconcertingly scattered across space and time) about zombies, vampires, shapeshifters, symbolic money, AIDS, symbols of wealth and modernity (such as cars), corrupt, power-hungry politicians, and more. Many of these notions fit within a moral economy of the poor that sees wealth as fixed and unattainable through effort alone. The disproportionate wealth and power that elite minorities possess is thus only possible through extraordinary means or circumstances, often involving Faustian bargains with evil forces, human or supernatural. Uneven and disjointed, both within and between parts, this is still a provocative and original book with important evidence and insights on 20th-century African popular thought and culture. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Graduate students and faculty. R. R. Atkinson University of South Carolina
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Reference & Research Book News, February 2003
Choice, April 2003
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
This volume explores the Atlantic slave trade through a range of disciplines - anthropology, fiction, art and art history, philosophy and contemporary literary theory - to look at the intellectual history of Africa, from African rather than European premises.
Main Description
Elizabeth Isichei explores the Atlantic slave trade, as reflected in the poetics of rumour and the poetics of memory -- an approach different from the quantitative and demographic studies which have transformed the subject over the past twenty years. She brings together a wide range of disciplines -- anthropology, fiction, art and art history, philosophy, and contemporary literary theory -- to look at the intellectual history of Africa, from African rather than European premisses. The result is a history of popular consciousness which shows the experiences of ordinary people, often in protest at their exploitation by generation after generation of powerful foreigners and locals. Elizabeth Isichei is professor of religious studies, Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand, and author of over a dozen books on African history and political thought. She holds an Oxford doctorate and a D.Litt from the University of Canterbury, and is a fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand.
Main Description
"Isichei's fine book points the way to further integration between anthropology and history, providing a rich example of the meansby which scholars can investigate popular consciousness by taking seriously the world of symbolic meaning." INTL J OF AFRICAN HISTORICAL STUDIES Vol 36 No 2 (2003)Elizabeth Isichei explores the Atlantic slave trade, as reflected in the poetics of rumour and the poetics of memory - an approach different from the quantitative and demographic studies which have transformed the subject over the past twenty years. She brings together a wide range of disciplines - anthropology, fiction, art and art history, philosophy, and contemporary literary theory - to look at the intellectual history of Africa, from African rather than European premisses. The result is a history of popular consciousness which shows the experiences of ordinary people, often in protest at their exploitation by generation after generation of powerful foreigners and locals.ELIZABETH ISICHEI is Professor of Religious Studies, Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand, and author of over a dozen books on African history and political thought.
Unpaid Annotation
An ambitious new approach to African studies, utilizing indigenous sources to bring back the voices of the native Africans in their own words rather than that of colonizers and foreigners.
Table of Contents
Maps and Drawingsp. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction: Truth from Belowp. 1
Perceptions of the Atlantic Slave Trade
An Overviewp. 25
The Slave Tradersp. 35
The Imported Commoditiesp. 49
Cowriesp. 65
Transformations: Enslavement and the Middle Passage in African American Memoryp. 77
Interpreting the Colonial and Post-Colonial Experience
An Overviewp. 89
The Entrepreneur and the Zombiep. 98
Colonial Vampires: The Theft of Life and Resourcesp. 111
Changing Bodies, Changing Worldsp. 126
Symbolic Moneyp. 138
Dangerous Women in an Age of AIDSp. 153
Village Intellectuals and the Challenge of Povertyp. 169
Mami Wata: Icon of Ambiguityp. 188
Symbolic Appropriations of Modernityp. 210
Converging Worlds, Polarized Worlds: the Realm Beneath the Sea Revisitedp. 224
Eating the State: Ridicule and the Crisis of the Quotidianp. 235
Conclusionp. 246
Bibliographyp. 257
Indexp. 273
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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