Re Liam Riordan's request for literature on African ethnicity, 1700-1850. There is currently very little explicitly about ethnicity for this period, although several scholars are now tackling the challenge and publications are forthcoming over the next several years. There are multiple reasons for the dearth of material pre-1900, including sparsity of evidence and conceptual/theoretical predispositions which shift historical focus into the twentieth century.
I post the following citations for works which in their entirety or only partially explicitly treat ethnicity and identity in precolonial Africa (i.e. roughly before 1900), although some of these publications treat late nineteenth century rather than earlier:
Ronald Atkinson, "The Evolution of Ethnicity among the Acholi of Uganda: The Precolonial Phase" Ethnohistory 36,1 (1989), 19-43.
Ronald Raymond Atkinson, The Roots of Ethnicity: The Origins of the Acholi of Uganda before 1800 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994).
Catharine Newbury, The Cohesion of Oppression: Clientship and Ethnicity in Rwanda (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988).
Thomas Spear and Richard Waller (ed.), Being Maasai: Ethnicity and Identity in East Africa (London: James Currey, 1993).
Justin Willis, "The Makings of a Tribe: Bondei Identities and Histories" Journal of African History 33,2 (1992), 191-208.
Edwin Wilmsen, Land Filled With Flies: A Political Economy of the Kalahari (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989).
John Lonsdale, Unhappy Valley: Book Two, Ethnicity and Violence (London: James Currey, 1992).
My Ph.D. dissertation, now in revision for publication (still a couple years before appearance): Pier M. Larson, Making Ethnic Tradition in a Pre-Colonial Society: Culture, Gender, and Protest in the Early Merina Kingdom, 1750-1822 (Department of History, University of WisconsinJMadison, 1992).
One can also trace the transformation/creation of ethnic identities between the lines of much work which has been conducted on precolonial Africa. Work on Zulu expansion, for example, or Curtin's work on trade diasporas, or the creation of the Mali and Songhay empires, and so many other examples. Some suggestive examples which I employed in a recent graduate seminar on ethnicity at Stanford:
Pastoralists and Hunters: Richard Elphick, Khoikhoi and the
founding of White South
Africa (Johannesburg: Ravan Press, 1985), 3-42.
Trade Diasporas: Philip Curtin, Cross-Cultural Trade in
World History (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1984), 1-59.
State Formtion: J.D. Omer-Cooper, The Zulu Aftermath: A
Revolution in Bantu Africa (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1969), 24-48.
Swahili: Derek Nurse & Thomas Spear, The Swahili:
Reconstructing the History and
Language of an African Society, 800-1500 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania
Press, 1985), 68-98.
Swahili: John Middleton: The World of the Swahili: An
African Mercantile Civilization
(New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), vii-40; 184-200.
Swahili: James de Vere Allen, Swahili Origins: Swahili
Culture & the Shungwaya
Phenomenon (London: James Currey, 1993), 1-19; 38-54; 240-262.
Swahili: Jonathon Glassman, "The Bondsman's New Clothes: The Contradictory Consciousness of Slave Resistance on the Swahili Coast" Journal of African History 32,2 (1991), 277-312.
Re Robert Wolff's querry about nationalism and ethnicity: some (heavily African) examples:
Paul R. Brass, Ethnicity and Nationalism: Theory and Comparison (London: Sage, 1991).
Thomas H. Eriksen, Communicating Cultural Difference and Identity: Ethnicity and Nationalism in Mauritius (Oslo: Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo, occasional papers in social anthropology, 1988).
Thomas H. Eriksen, "Ethnicity versus Nationalism" Journal of Peace Research 28,3 (1991), 263-278.
Thomas H. Eriksen, Us and Them in Modern Societies: Ethnicity and Nationalism in Trinidad, Mauritius and Beyond (Oslo: Scandinavian University Press, 1992).
Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Ethnicity and Nationalism: Anthropological Perspectives (London: Pluto Press, 1993).
Julius O. Ihonvbere, "The 'Irrelevant' State, Ethnicity, and the Quest for Nationhood in Africa" Ethnic and Racial Studies 17,1 (1994), 42-60.
Theodore H. Kamena, Ethnic Nationalism in Quebec and South Africa: A Historical Comparison of the Quebecois and Afrikaners 1993).
Crawford Young, "Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Class in Africa: A Retrospective" Cahiers D'Etudes Africaines 26,3 (1986), 421-495.
Crawford Young, The Politics of Cultural Pluralism (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1976).
I highly recommend Eriksen's 1993 book, and his bibliographies/citations.
I hope these citations are of assistance to netters.
Pier M. Larson
History, Penn State University
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