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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Bellah Question: Slave Emancipation, Race, and Social Categories in Late Twentieth-Century Northern Mali
Author:Lecocq, BazISNI
Year:2005
Periodical:Canadian Journal of African Studies
Volume:39
Issue:1
Pages:42-68
Language:English
Geographic term:Mali
Subjects:social relations
Tuareg
slaves
Labor and Employment
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Ethnic and Race Relations
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/25067450
Abstract:This paper sketches the emancipation process of former Tuareg slaves, generally called 'bellah', in northern Mali from the late 1940s to the present, and the current relations between former masters and former slaves. Slave emancipation was first promoted seriously at the end of the 1940s by the colonial government under pressure from African politicians. Once in power after independence, the latter, contrary to their radical political discourse on slave emancipation, simply continued the policies of their colonial predecessors. The droughts of the early 1970s and 1980s boosted dynamics internal to Tuareg society that further promoted slave emancipation. In outlining the internal dynamics of emancipation and the relations between people of free and unfree descent since the 1970s, the paper pays particular attention to the changing perception of both free and unfree people towards work and appropriate social behaviour, and to the transformations in social and political relations during and after the Tuareg rebellion of the 1990s. Throughout the period under consideration, these relations were informed by notions of race, caste, expected qualities, and appropriate behaviour. The paper is mainly based on research in the Kidal and Gao regions. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in French. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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