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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Architects of knowledge, builders of power: constructing the Kaabu 'empire', 16th-17th centuries
Author:Green, TobyISNI
Year:2009
Periodical:Mande Studies
Issue:11
Pages:91-112
Language:English
Geographic term:West Africa
Subjects:Kaabu polity
historiography
history
1500-1599
1600-1699
Abstract:This paper reexamines the history of the Kaabu Federation and the ways in which historians have construed it. A range of sources are examined, including published travel accounts, masking traditions in Casamance, data on the 'ethnicities' of slaves in the Americas, and documents from the Arquivo Historico Ultramarino in Lisbon. The consideration of these sources supports the hypothesis that the notion of Kaabu 'empire' was a projection and legacy of the 20th-century European imperial project in Africa, and that much more complex dynamics of alliances and political ties were at work in the construction of the Kaabu polity. This is a warning to beware at every stage of accepted ideas concerning precolonial African polities, which even today are all too often discussed unfiltered through the lens of the 20th-century preconceptions through which they were constructed. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]
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