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by Jan M. Vansina

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Author: Jan M. Vansina
ISBN: 0299125742
Language: English
Pages: 448 pages
Category: Humanities
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press (November 15, 1990)
Rating: 4.4
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FB2 size: 1875 kb | EPUB size: 1250 kb | DJVU size: 1252 kb
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in the. rainforests: toward.

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While Vansina?s PATHS IN THE RAINFORESTS bears little similarity to the former book, it does resemble it in. .After first contact with African cultures in the equatorial forest zone of central Africa, Westerners tended to regard them as 1) being cut from a single cloth, 2) unchanging.

While Vansina?s PATHS IN THE RAINFORESTS bears little similarity to the former book, it does resemble it in one way: it must change the way people look at its subject, it is an earth-shaking work in tropical African history. As an interested, but non-specialist reader, I found PATHS IN THE RAINFORESTS extremely hard going, though the writing is clear. Albert Schweitzer?s view of Africans as sick, poor, primitive, and never-changing permeates Western thinking beyond academia.

political forms and of power; the coming of Atlantic trade and colonialism; and the conquest of the rainforests by.

political forms and of power; the coming of Atlantic trade and colonialism; and the conquest of the rainforests by colonial powers and the destruction of a way of life. In 400 elegantly brilliant pages Vansina lays out five millennia of history for nearly 200 distinguishable regions of the forest of equatorial Africa around a new, subtly paradoxical interpretation of ‘tradition. -Joseph Miller, University of Virginia. Vansina gives extended coverage. to the broad features of culture and the major lines of historical development across the region between 3000 .

Paths in the Rainforests book.

Jan Vansina's Paths makes a truly significant contribution to African history by.

Jan Vansina's Paths makes a truly significant contribution to African history by providing a solid framework for the description and integration of a millennium of evolution of the many societies of the vast rainforests. Jan Vansina is the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor and the Vilas Professor in History and Anthropology at the University of WisconsinMadison. His many books include his 1994 memoir Living with Africa, Oral Tradition as History, Kingdoms of the Savanna, and The Children of Woot, all published by the University of Wisconsin Press.

Jan Vansina, Jan M Vansina. Vansina’s scope is breathtaking: he reconstructs the history of the forest lands that cover all or part of southern Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, the Congo, Zaire, the Central African Republic, and Cabinda in Angola, discussing the original settlement of the forest by the western Bantu; the periods of expansion and innovation in agriculture; the development of metallurgy; the rise and fall of. Political forms and of power; the coming of Atlantic trade and colonialism; and the conquest of the rainforests by colonial powers and the destruction of a way of life.

oceedings{Vansina1990PathsIT, title {Paths in the Rainforests: Toward a History of.

oceedings{Vansina1990PathsIT, title {Paths in the Rainforests: Toward a History of Political Tradition in Equatorial Africa}, author {Jan Vansina}, year {1990} }. Jan Vansina. Vansina s scope is breathtaking: he reconstructs the history of the forest lands that cover all or part of southern Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, the Congo, Zaire, the Central African Republic, and Cabinda in Angola, discussing the original settlement of the forest by the western Bantu; the periods of expansion and innovation in agriculture; the development of metallurgy; the rise and fall of.

Do you love Year in Reading and the amazing books and arts content that The Millions produces year round?

Chapter Four The Trail of the Leopard in the Inner Basin (page 101).

Chapter Four The Trail of the Leopard in the Inner Basin (page 101). Chapter Five Between Ocean and Rivers (page 129).

Vansina’s scope is breathtaking: he reconstructs the history of the forest lands that cover all or part of southern Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, the Congo, Zaire, the Central African Republic, and Cabinda in Angola, discussing the original settlement of the forest by the western Bantu; the periods of expansion and innovation in agriculture; the development of metallurgy; the rise and fall of political forms and of power; the coming of Atlantic trade and colonialism; and the conquest of the rainforests by colonial powers and the destruction of a way of life.“In 400 elegantly brilliant pages Vansina lays out five millennia of history for nearly 200 distinguishable regions of the forest of equatorial Africa around a new, subtly paradoxical interpretation of ‘tradition.’” —Joseph Miller, University of Virginia“Vansina gives extended coverage  .  .  . to the broad features of culture and the major lines of historical development across the region between 3000 B.C. and A.D. 1000. It is truly an outstanding effort, readable, subtle, and integrative in its interpretations, and comprehensive in scope.  .  .  .  It is a seminal study  .  .  .  but it is also a substantive history that will long retain its usefulness.”—Christopher Ehret,  American Historical Review   

Comments (3)
Diredefender
Great panorama of Central African pre-history. Enjoyable read.
Moonshaper
Jan Vansina has done more than anybody to promote the study of Sub-Saharan Africa Oral Traditions. His mind-blowing first book was Kingdoms of the Savannah. This is as good. It is not easy but what he has to say is expressed clearly.
Inertedub
A few years ago I read John Womack Jr.?s ?Zapata and the Mexican Revolution? which struck me as being the ultimate book on the subject. While Vansina?s PATHS IN THE RAINFORESTS bears little similarity to the former book, it does resemble it in one way: it must change the way people look at its subject, it is an earth-shaking work in tropical African history. As an interested, but non-specialist reader, I found PATHS IN THE RAINFORESTS extremely hard going, though the writing is clear. The volume of unfamiliar names of peoples, rivers, and other geographical features is overwhelming, despite the many excellent maps provided. Vansina backs up his arguments about political evolution in rainforest Africa with an enormous array of facts, Bantu linguistic transformations, and difficult kinship terminologies. The system of using semantic innovations and transformations over centuries to ?excavate? knowledge about economic and political changes in tropical African societies is extremely impressive, but must have been incredibly hard to do. Except for serious students of history or African history, the volume will not appeal to many. However, if you are a reader of challenging books, rather than those which take the ?easy path?, then you will find this particular path through the rainforests both rewarding and eye-opening.

After first contact with African cultures in the equatorial forest zone of central Africa, Westerners tended to regard them as 1) being cut from a single cloth, 2) unchanging. Albert Schweitzer?s view of Africans as sick, poor, primitive, and never-changing permeates Western thinking beyond academia. ?Tradition? meant that they had no history, but had lived the same way for thousands of years. As no written records existed, scholars tended to write central Africans off, saying that they were people ?without history?. Vansina shows, in a most scholarly way---mustering thousands of facts, using every possible technique except DNA research (which didn?t exist when he wrote)---that these presumptions are all products of ignorance and prejudice. New crops, new technologies, political and social innovations abounded. The first two chapters explore the rainforest environment and the original Bantu tradition, several millennia old. The following three chapters show how the tradition changed in separate regions of the equatorial forest region. The changes encompass an amazing variety of political innovation. Chapter Seven deals with the arrival of the Europeans on the Atlantic coast and the challenge that their slave trading and new material goods posed to the African societies of the time. The next chapter, most grim, describes the destruction of the African societies during the colonial period---wars conducted by colonial armies exterminated over half the population, while missionaries who scorned everything African tried to erase the culture of the survivors. The region?s suffering today stems from this history. The last section of the book discusses trends and patterns in history and tradition in general. While historians have often written as if the process of political development in the world, from tribe to empire, is known and set, Vansina questions that assumption. If major kingdoms appeared in the Kongo area, but did not elsewhere, should we regard their absence as a case of abnormal or arrested development ? Or should we presume that many roads are possible ? This and many other questions abound in this seminal book. I cannot imagine the amount of work and accumulated scholarship necessary to complete it. It is surely a masterpiece.