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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Of Hunters, Goats and Earth-Shrines: Settlement Histories and the Politics of Oral Traditions in Northern Ghana
Author:Lentz, CarolaISNI
Year:2000
Periodical:History in Africa
Volume:27
Pages:193-214
Language:English
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:Dagari
migration
oral traditions
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
Education and Oral Traditions
Ethnic and Race Relations
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3172113
Abstract:This paper deals with the settlement history of a West African agricultural society, that of the Dagara in present-day northwestern Ghana. It examines the appropriation of space, which is ritually legitimized through the acquisition of earth shrines, and the conflict-ridden relationships between the in-migrating Dagara and the Sisala, who were already settled in their new habitat. In particular, it examines how the expansion strategies of the Dagara and the history of interethnic conflicts are worked out in disputed oral traditions. Using the example of the controversial settlement history of Nandom, where the author carried out field research in 1989 and 1994, the paper shows how Africans, both today and in the colonial past, have used oral traditions in order to conduct politics. It discusses the methodological implications that this mutual constitution of oral traditions and political interests has for the reconstruction of settlement history and examines the possibilities of a thorough criticism of sources to detect core elements of the historical settlement process and appropriation of space as well as the present-day confrontations with history. Bibliogr., notes, ref.
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