Todd Cleveland is an assistant professor of history at the University of Arkansas. He is the author of Stones of Contention and Diamonds in the Rough, as well numerous book chapters and articles on the history of diamond mining and on soccer within the former Portuguese empire in Africa. He has been a Fulbright scholar in both Angola and Ghana.
Listed in: African Studies · Anthropology · Sports · Social History · History · African History
With Following the Ball, Todd Cleveland incorporates labor, sport, diasporic, and imperial history to examine the extraordinary experiences of African football players from Portugal’s African colonies as they relocated to the metropole from 1949 until the conclusion of the colonial era in 1975. The backdrop was Portugal’s increasingly embattled Estado Novo regime, and its attendant use of the players as propaganda to communicate the supposed unity of the metropole and the colonies.
“The great impact that this book will have is not only to look at colonialism through soccer and the experiences of African players in various Portuguese colonial contexts, but—more significantly—to refocus discussions of colonialism and cultural practices on the local and colonized.”
Roger Kittleson, author of The Country of Football: Soccer and the Making of Modern Brazil
Diamonds in the Rough explores the lives of African laborers on Angola’s diamond mines from the commencement of operations in 1917 to the colony’s independence from Portugal in 1975. The mines were owned and operated by the Diamond Company of Angola, or Diamang, which enjoyed exclusive mining and labor concessions granted by the colonial government. Through these monopolies, the company became the most profitable enterprise in Portugal’s African empire.
“This meticulous study is a must read for scholars and graduate students interested in African labor history and Portuguese colonialism. Those with an interest in (diamond) mining will take away as much as those reading for information on forced labor or on the interplay between the Portuguese colonial state and concessional companies. However, those keen to learn about the rich texture of workers’ experiences, both on and o the mine, stand to gain the most.”
Stones of Contention explores the major developments in the remarkable history of Africa’s diamonds, from the earliest stirrings of international interest in the continent’s mineral wealth in the first millennium A.D. to the present day.
“Teachers of African and world history will welcome the lucid style and topical introduction to historical issues. …Unlike the now dime-a-dozen summaries of African history, this book marshals a great deal of evidence, contains much substance, and provides some interesting perspectives. The temptation might be to consume the book at a single sitting. This would be a pity, for the tastiest morsels, in particular primary sources that relate labor experiences on colonial mines, should be savored.”
American Historical Review