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A History of Race in Muslim West Africa, 1600-1960 by Bruce S. Hall

By Bruce S. Hall

The mobilization of neighborhood principles approximately racial distinction has been very important in producing, and intensifying, civil wars that experience happened because the finish of colonial rule in all the nations that straddle the southern fringe of the Sahara barren region. From Sudan to Mauritania, the racial different types deployed in modern conflicts usually hearken again to an older heritage within which blackness can be equated with slavery and non-blackness with predatory and uncivilized banditry. This publication lines the advance of arguments approximately race over a interval of greater than 350 years in a single very important position alongside the southern fringe of the Sahara barren region: the Niger Bend in northern Mali. utilizing Arabic files held in Timbuktu, in addition to neighborhood colonial resources in French and oral interviews, Bruce S. corridor reconstructs an African highbrow heritage of race that lengthy predated colonial conquest, and which has persevered to orient inter-African family members ever due to the fact.

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18 To quote David Nirenberg again, “all racisms are attempts to ground discriminations, whether social, economic, or religious, in biology and reproduction. All claim a congruence of ‘cultural’ categories with ‘natural’ ones. 20 These ideas can be easily 15 Stuart Hall, “Race, Articulation and Societies Structured in Dominance,” in Race Critical Theories: Text and Context, ed. Philomena Essed and David Theo Goldberg (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2002), 38–68. Cited in Holt, Problem of Race, 20–1. 16 Holt, Problem of Race, 21.

8 “Arma” is the local name for the descendants of the Moroccan conquerors. It is derived from the Arabic word “rumaʾ,” which means “riflemen,” and which was the term used to describe the Moroccan soldiers. 9 Whether this was fair or not for the Fulbe of the Niger Bend, other Fulbe groups in the Senegal River valley had embraced Islam much earlier and begun to make it a part of Fulbe political culture. By the eighteenth century, Fulbe Muslim identity was increasingly instrumental in conflicts with non-Fulbe states.

55 This book is not about racial identity, but about the invocation of racial arguments. I am interested in tracing the emergence and changing structures of ideas about racial difference, and the ways in which these ideas were deployed in a variety of contexts over time in the Niger Bend to make arguments about particular social and political matters. Because I am not concerned here with racial identity per se, or the kinds of cultural practice that might go along with such a phenomenon, I am able to show the ways in which racial arguments worked as strategies and claims open to different people, rather than the sole province of specific racially identifying groups.

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