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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Beyond the world of commerce: rethinking Hausa diaspora history through marriage, distance, and legal testimony
Author:O'Rourke, Harmony
Periodical:History in Africa (ISSN 1558-2744)
Geographic term:Cameroon
mixed marriage
social history
External link:https://doi.org/10.1017/hia.2016.4
Abstract:Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, Hausa migrants traveled to the Cameroon Grassfields where they established multiple settlements known as abakwa, a term referring to descendants of mixed marriages between Hausa men and local, mainly non-Muslim women. Previous historical studies on Hausa diaspora communities in West Africa have largely concentrated on the spread of commerce and Islam. By contrast, this article asks how gendered power asymmetries, together with the essential diaspora factors of distance and travel, influenced the marital relationships that made the diaspora possible. This approach to Hausa diaspora history emerges from Islamic court records dating from the late 1940s to the early 1960s in British mandated territory. The founding of the court resulted in the institutionalization of Islamic household patriarchy as well as debates over Hausa values, especially marriage as a primary site of belonging and patriarchal control. This article demonstrates that marital negotiations and distance interacted with colonial legal structures and community patriarchy in a manner that both intensified women's vulnerability and provided opportunities to strategically forge new identities and relationships. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French [Journal abstract]