Colonial Rule and Crisis in Equatorial Africa: Southern Gabon, c. 1850-1940

Colonial Rule and Crisis in Equatorial Africa: Southern Gabon, c. 1850-1940

by Christopher J. Gray


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In the second half of the nineteenth century, two very different practices of territoriality confronted each other in Southern Gabon. Clan and lineage relationships were most important in the local practice, while the French practice was informed by a territorial definition of society that had emerged with the rise of the modern nation-state and industrial capitalism. This modern territoriality used an array of bureaucratic instruments — such as maps andcensuses — previously unknown in equatorial Africa. Such instruments denied the existence of locally created territories and were fundamental to the exercise of colonial power. Thus modern territoriality imposed categories and institutions foreign to the peoples to whom they were applied. As colonial power became more effective from the 1920s on, those institutions started to be appropriated by Gabonese cultural elites who negotiated their meanings in reference to their own traditions. The result was a strongly ambiguous condition that left its imprint on the new colonial territories and subsequently the postcolonial Gabonese state.

Christopher Gray was Assistant Professor of History, Florida International University.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781580460484
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer, Limited
Publication date: 01/01/2000
Series: Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora Series , #13
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.97(d)

Table of Contents

Developing a Spatial Approach to Historical Change in Equitorial Africa
Territoriality in the Functional Regions, Districts, and Villages of Southern Gabon to the 1880s
"The Clan Has No Boundary": Cognitive Kinships, Maps, and Territoriality
The Instruments of Colonial Territoriality
Colonial Territoriality's Ambiguous Territoriality: Roads and Okoume, ca. 1920-1940
The Impositin of an Ambiguous Territoriality: Roads and Okoume, ca. 1920-1940
Death of the Equatorial Tradition? Of Leopard Men, Canton Chiefs, and Women Healers

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