Mediators, Contract Men, and Colonial Capital
Title Details

230 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

3 b/w, 4 line illus.

Series: Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora

Series Vol. Number: 77

Imprint: University of Rochester Press

Mediators, Contract Men, and Colonial Capital

Mechanized Gold Mining in the Gold Coast Colony, 1879-1909

by Cassandra Mark-Thiesen

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
An innovative study of labor relations, particularly the interactions of recruitment agents and migrant workers, in the mining concessions of Wassa, Gold Coast Colony, 1879 to 1909.

Recent years have seen renewed interest in the historical study of labor in Africa. Unlike those of the past, these new studies are rooted in the recognition of Africa's dynamic, expansive, and productive informal sector. While this book focuses on one of West Africa's earliest large-scale industries, namely the Wassa gold mines in the southwest Gold Coast, it is not solely concerned with the traditional working class. Rather, it explores the plurality oflabor relations that characterized the mining concessions during the period 1879 to 1909, including the presence of migrants from various parts of West Africa as well as casual and tributary laborers, both male and female.

In capturing the phenomenon of labor mobility as it played out in Wassa, Mediators, Contract Men, and Colonial Capital presents one of the fullest accounts of the labor agents who regularly brought groups of migrant laborers to the mines. The narrative discusses these agents' means of employment and roles in the informalization and indentureship of labor; in addition, it explores the regional dynamics of the recruitment machinery and confronts issues of coercion and choice.

Scholars interested in African history, global labor history, economic history, and women's work in Africa will find much of value in this innovative study.

Cassandra Mark-Thiesen is aResearch Fellow of the Swiss National Science Foundation (Marie-Heim Vögtlin Grant) in the history department of the University of Basel.
Introduction
Prospectors, Politicians and the Question of "Progress": The First and Second Gold Boom in Wassa
Labor Recruitment in the Nineteenth Century: The Place of Practicality
Disrupted Recruitment at the Turn of the Twentieth Century: Women, Whites, and other Labor Agents
Government Strategies for Assisting the Mines
Labor Agents, Chiefs and Officials, 1905 to 1909: The Incorporation of the Northern Territories' Labor Reserve
Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
Index
"This is an important book, which helps to recast a seemingly well-discussed theme (the two gold booms in the southern interior of the Gold Coast) into a fresh, well-structured discussion of labour recruitment and labour organization." SWISS HISTORY REVIEW
"Provides a number of important insights into the global labour history of imperial gold mining in Wassa, as well as in a wider West African context... [An] comprehensive, informative and well-researched study is recommended for public and private libraries, and especially for historians and experts of migratory studies, mining industry and labour relations." GHANA JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENT STUDIES
"Cassandra Mark-Thiesen delivers a readable and insightful study of African-run labor recruitment schemes in colonial Ghana's emerging mining industry." CONNECTIONS
"Mark-Thiesen digs up a rich historical archive that enriches our understanding of the dynamic history of labour in the Gold Coast." LSE REVIEW OF BOOKS
"Cassandra Mark-Thiesen's Mediators, Contract Men, and Colonial Capital gives readers a window into the lives of the wide variety of African workers and entrepreneurs that journeyed to the Wassa gold mines and the port city of Sekondi in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Her 'labor centered' approach will be invaluable to historians of colonial mining economies." IJAHS
"By deepening our understanding of the actors and institutions involved in mobilizing labor after the outlawing of slavery in the Gold Coast in 1874, Cassandra Mark-Thiesen sheds light on the economic, political, and sociocultural factors that motivated people from within and beyond the Gold Coast to work in the Wassa mines." AFRICAN STUDIES REVIEW

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9781580469180

March 2018

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Title Details

230 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

3 b/w, 4 line illus.

Series: Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora

Series Vol. Number: 77

Imprint: University of Rochester Press