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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Birth of an African Private Epistolography, Echo Island, 1862-1901
Author:Spaulding, Jay L.ISNI
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Geographic term:Sudan
Subjects:historical sources
letters (form)
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/183034
Abstract:This study examines the surviving private correspondence from Echo Island (JazŻirat AbŻu RanŻat, formerly Abranarti), a small 19th-century agricultural community in the ShŻaŻiquiyya country of the northern Sudan. The central question addressed is a discordance between the preoccupations of the letters and the concerns manifested in the considerably larger literature of contemporary legal records surviving from the same community. It is suggested that the private correspondence from Echo Island may best be interpreted as a new technique of bond management in the microsociological sense that arose and flourished in an age when the community found itself compelled to respond to a colonial setting vastly larger in scale than what had previously prevailed. The world of subjective ideas evidenced in the correspondence ignored most of the immediate concerns of the community revealed in the contemporary legal documents; however, it opened a new 'mode of communication', a conceptual terrain across which members of the elite exercised their virtuosity in mutual manipulations of status. Of the seven examples considered here, two testify to the emigration of community members, one exposes the rising opposition to Mu.hammad .SŻali.h al-Ni.dayf, while the other four illustrate various aspects of the community's relations with the Khatmiyya. App. (Arabic texts with translations), notes, ref., sum. (Comment by Ismail H. Abdalla in 'Journal of African History', vol. 36, no. 2 (1995), p. 305-309, with a rejoinder by Spaulding on p. 309-310.)