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Book Book Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Two worlds of cotton: colonialism and the regional economy in the French Soudan, 1800-1946
Author:Roberts, Richard L.
City of publisher:Stanford, Cal.
Publisher:Stanford University Press
Geographic terms:Mali
Abstract:This book traces French efforts to establish a cotton export economy in the French Soudan (now Mali) from the early 19th century through the end of World War II. The book is organized into three periods. The first covers roughly a century, from the earliest French efforts to promote cotton in Senegal in 1817 to the end of World War I in 1918. It provides background to the encounter between two worlds of cotton, one emanating from industrial Europe and the other one deeply intertwined with the dynamic of West African regional economies. The second part covers the years 1918 to 1932, a period in which the most sustained debates concerning cotton development occurred. The third period, 1932-1946, witnessed the rapid ascendancy of the irrigation model of cotton production, but also its collapse. The author shows that French efforts to turn first Senegal and then the French Soudan into France's privileged sources of raw material for its metropolitan industry failed. He argues that the main reason for the failure was the refusal of African cotton growers to sell their harvests to French merchants or the colonial State, since the growers and handicraft textile producers were part of long-standing regional economies that serviced local and regional demands for cotton and clothing.