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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Value of Virginity on Echo Island, 1860-1866
Author:Spaulding, Jay L.ISNI
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Geographic term:Sudan
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
Women's Issues
Cultural Roles
Marital Relations and Nuptiality
Family Life
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/220145
Abstract:This essay is part of a study devoted to the historical reconstruction of the 19th-century community of Echo Island (Jazirat Abu Ranat), a rural settlement located near the middle of the Shaiqiyya country in northern Sudan. This effort rests largely upon an archive of private documents prepared and preserved by members of a locally prominent family of holy men, the Nidayfab. Many of the documents concern marriage and its tangible ramifications. On the basis of information on 35 marriages entered into between the years 1860 and 1866, the author tests the applicability to the society of mid-19th-century Echo Island of two features of the modern northern Sudanese marriage paradigm: 1) Was father's brother's daughter marriage more common at first marriage than subsequently? 2) Was the bridewealth paid at a woman's first marriage significantly larger than what she could expect to receive at subsequent marriages? In short, was virginity as highly valued as it is today? The evidence reveals a significant change in the material value assigned to virginity between the mid-19th century and the 'anthropological present'. Notes, ref.