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Lecture 2

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African Studies
Steven Rockel

Lecture 2 Introduction  Islamic uprising in North East Sahara: movement against Christianity and against Westernization. People feel that in that area Westernization has failed because of extreme poverty. It is very close to Lake Chad: area of massive climate change.  Climate change affects history a lot.  Africa has a deep history of kingdoms, empires, etc.  There is also things like development of early industrial society like iron working. He points to the importance of cattle in the global economy. Cattle become main stray of African life. Cattle are a means of exchange. Cattle become enormously important.  Nubian state emerges 5-4000 years ago.  Oral cultures: many African people didn’t have writings so they were techniques used such as music, etc. Problem with oral tradition: if the population dies then you lose culture.  What kind of mythologies can historians use? Look at the film.  Reading about tribe: o What is wrong about using the word tribe: It distorts reality o The way it is being used is to imply that tribal peoples because of their nature and the way they live because of their social organization is unchanging right through history. o Makes things complicated and tries to fit everything into one box/ category. Ethnic group of 20 million people is compared with another group and is said to be the same way. o Implies ignorance o British had a system of indirect rule: ruling through existing African institutions and the existing African institutions that were there were tribes and chiefs. Chiefs evolved and have a history of their own. Europeans looked to the chiefs. o Two ways of looking at identities  Primordial: means that identity is essentially very ancient and fixed and doesn’t change.  Constructionist approach: the identity changes and what might have been identities of the Arab speaking people 1500 years ago changed since then. The constructionist suggests that identity is not fixed and that it changes all the time. Power point presentation  Africa is the most successful place in the world because that’s where we came from but in general the African climate has been difficult with many dangerous diseases. Africans adapted to their environment by adopting social and political institutions and so these adaptations allowed surviving in this difficult physical climate. One of the problems for nd African societies is maintain and building up populations. It is the 2 largest continent on earth. Because of its difficulty it has been difficult to build up populations. Many pa
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