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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Doli: Translating an African Environmental History of Loss in the Sangha River Basin of Equatorial Africa
Author:Giles-Vernick, TamaraISNI
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Geographic terms:Cameroon
Central African Republic
oral traditions
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/183474
Abstract:In the middle and upper Sangha basin forests of the Central African Republic and Cameroon, Mpiemu speakers have articulated a broad category, 'doli', through which they express, debate and make claims of truth about the past and the present. This essay traces the different meanings, genres and aims of 'doli' in order to illuminate how the category has changed over the 20th century, how Mpiemu have interpreted environmental interventions in the Sangha basin, and why they have engaged in conflicts over their entitlement to valued forest resources. In its central theme of loss, 'doli' bears the traces of Mpiemu encounters with powerful outsiders, who carried out political and environmental interventions in the Sangha basin during the 20th century. In tales, narratives and non-narrative objects and sites, Mpiemu recall the interventions undertaken by expatriate concessionary companies and the French colonial administration in the Sangha forest. These interventions promoted forest clearing and fundamentally altered relations of authority, and different groups of Mpiemu interpreted them differently through the lens of 'doli'. The essay illustrates that resource struggles are not just about livelihood and accumulation, but are deeply embedded in the categories of knowledge and cosmologies by which people experience and interpret past (present and future) worlds. Notes, ref., sum.