Movements, Borders, and Identities in Africa

Movements, Borders, and Identities in Africa

Edited by Toyin Falola, Aribidesi Usman


University of Rochester Press



A groundbreaking interrogation of the myriad causes and effects of African migration, from the pre-colonial to the modern era.
Migration, whether forced or voluntary, continues to be an issue vital to Africa, arguably the continent most affected by internal displacement. Over centuries -- in groups or as individuals -- Africans have been forced to leave their homes to escape unfavorable natural, social, or political circumstances, or simply to seek better lives elsewhere. This essential volume establishes the centrality of human migration and movement to the evolution of African societies.
Using oral, archaeological, and written sources, and focusing on various geographical areas, the contributors show that migration is a multifaceted phenomenon, historically varied in nature and character. Movements, Borders, and Identities in Africa incorporates carefully selected case studies drawn from across the continent, and provides a broad but insightful overview of migration and its complex relationships to slavery, commerce, religion, architecture, material culture, poverty, diaspora life and identity formation, and the development of states and societies on the continent. Taken as a whole, this collection offers a groundbreaking interrogation of the myriad causes and effects of African migration, from the precolonial to the modern era.

Contributors: Edmund Abaka, Maurice Amutabi, Toyin Falola, Ghislaine Geloin, Issiaka Mande, Jean-Luc Martineau, Pius S. Nyambara, Akinwumi Ogundiran, Adisa Ogunfolakan, Olatunji Ojo, Brigitte Kowalski Oshineye, Meshack Owino, Gerald Steyn, and Aribidesi Usman.

Toyin Falola is the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities and University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin.
Aribidesi Usman is Associate Professor of African and African American Studies and Anthropology at Arizona State University.


May 2009
19 black and white, 18 line illustrations
332 pages
9x6 in
Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora
ISBN: 9781580462969
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
University of Rochester Press
BISAC LCO001000, HIS001000, HIS054000
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Table of Contents

Migrations in African History: An Introduction - and Toyin Falola and Aribidesi Usman
Frontier Migrations and Cultural Transformations in the Yoruba Hinterland, ca. 1575-1700: The Case of Upper Osun - Akin Ogundiran
The Root Is Also Here: The Nondiaspora Foundations of Yoruba Ethnicity - Olatunji Ojo
Settlement Strategies, Ceramic Use, and Factors of Change among the People of Northeast Osun State, Nigeria - Adisa Ogunfolakan
Precolonial Regional Migration and Settlement Abandonment in Yorubaland, Nigeria - Aribidesi Usman
Migrations, Identities, and Transculturation in the Coastal Cities of Yorubaland in the Second Half of the Second Millennium - Brigitte Kowalski Oshineye
Squatting and Settlement Making in Mamelodi, South Africa - Gerald Steyn
"Scattering Time": Anticolonial Resistance and Migration among the Jo-Ugeny of Kenya toward the End of the Nineteenth Century - Meshack Owino
Traders, Slaves, and Soldiers: The Hausa Diaspora in Ghana (Gold Coast and Asante) in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries - Edmund Abaka
Ethnic Identities and the Culture of Modernity in a Frontier Region: The Gokwe District of Northwestern Zimbabwe, 1963-79 - Pius S. Nyambara
Displacement, Migration, and the Curse of Borders in Francophone West Africa - Ghislaine Géloin
Shifting Identities among Nigerian Yoruba in Dahomey and the Republic of Benin (1940s-2004) - Jean-Luc Martineau
Identity, "Foreign-ness," and the Dilemma of Immigrants at the Coast of Kenya: Interrogating the Myth of "Black Arabs" among Kenyan Africans - Maurice Nyamanga Amutabi
Labor Market Constraints and Competition in Colonial Africa: Migrant Workers, Population, and Agricultural Production in Upper Volta, 1920-32 - Isiakka Mande


Broad and well-informed...recommend(ed) to readers who are interested either in Yoruba history or mobility and identity in Africa. AFRICAN STUDIES REVIEW

(This book) demonstrates the breadth of scholarship that is emerging in Africa studies today. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF AFRICAN HISTORICAL STUDIES (Tony Waters)

A wonderful volume. . . highly recommended. CHOICE

Movements, Borders, and Identities in Africa is an excellent multidisciplinary contribution to African Studies, emphasizing the migratory experiences of Africans across the continent and globally, from the crucible of humanity in east Africa to trans-regional movements across Africa and internationally. --Gloria Emeagwali, Professor of History and African Studies, Central Connecticut State University

Falola and Usman have set the standard by bringing together in one volume some of the best studies on migration, border crossings, population movement, and shifting identities within the African continent. A remarkable contribution to the understanding of the dynamics and forms of such understudied areas within African history. The volume comes in handy as a textbook on the history and ethnography of migration and population displacement in the precolonial, colonial and postcolonial Africa. --Salah M. Hassan, Goldwin Smith Professor and Director of Africana Studies and Research Center and History of Art, Cornell University

Addresses hugely important and frequently overlooked themes and should, therefore, be a significant addition to archaeology as well as the intriguing range of disciplines it covers. AZANIA

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