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Anthropology

Anthropology Book List

Cover of 'San Rock Art'

San Rock Art
By J.D. Lewis-Williams

San rock paintings, scattered over the range of southern Africa, are considered by many to be the very earliest examples of representational art. There are as many as 15,000 known rock art sites, created over the course of thousands of years up until the nineteenth century. There are possibly just as many still awaiting discovery.

Cover of 'Trafficking in Slavery’s Wake'

Trafficking in Slavery’s Wake
Law and the Experience of Women and Children in Africa
Edited by Benjamin N. Lawrance and Richard L. Roberts

Women and children have been bartered, pawned, bought, and sold within and beyond Africa for longer than records have existed. This important collection examines the ways trafficking in women and children has changed from the aftermath of the “end of slavery” in Africa from the late nineteenth century to the present. The formal abolition of the slave trade and slavery did not end the demand for servile women and children.

An allAfrica.com 2011 New & Notable Book
Cover of 'The Anatomy of a South African Genocide'

The Anatomy of a South African Genocide
The Extermination of the Cape San Peoples
By Mohamed Adhikari

In 1998 David Kruiper, the leader of the ‡Khomani San who today live in the Kalahari Desert in South Africa, lamented, “We have been made into nothing.” His comment applies equally to the fate of all the hunter-gatherer societies of the Cape Colony who were destroyed by the impact of European colonialism. Until relatively recently, the extermination of the Cape San peoples has been treated as little more than a footnote to South African narratives of colonial conquest.

Cover of 'Between Frontiers'

Between Frontiers
Nation and Identity in a Southeast Asian Borderland
By Noboru Ishikawa

A staple of postwar academic writing, “nationalism” is a contentious and often unanalyzed abstraction. It is generally treated as something “imagined,” “fashioned,” and “disseminated,” as an idea located in the mind, in printed matter, on maps, in symbols such as flags and anthems, and in collective memory.

Cover of 'Unconquerable Spirit'

Unconquerable Spirit
George Stow’s History Painting of the San
By Pippa Skotnes

George Stow was a Victorian man of many parts—poet, historian, ethnographer, artist, cartographer, and prolific writer. A geologist by profession, he became acquainted, through his work in the field, with the extraordinary wealth of rock paintings in the caves and shelters of the South African interior. Enchanted and absorbed by them, Stow set out to create a record of this creative work of the people who had tracked and marked the South African landscape decades and centuries before him.

Cover of 'African Sacred Groves'

African Sacred Groves
Ecological Dynamics and Social Change
Edited by Michael J. Sheridan and Celia Nyamweru

In Western scholarship, Africa’s so-called sacred forests are often treated as the remains of primeval forests, ethnographic curiosities, or cultural relics from a static precolonial past. African Sacred Groves challenges dominant views of these landscape features by redefining the subject matter beyond the compelling yet uninformative term “sacred.”

Cover of 'Butterflies & Barbarians'

Butterflies & Barbarians
Swiss Missionaries and Systems of Knowledge in South-East Africa
By Patrick Harries

Swiss missionaries played a primary and little-known role in explaining Africa to the literate world in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This book emphasizes how these European intellectuals, brought to the deep rural areas of southern Africa by their vocation, formulated and ordered knowledge about the continent. Central to this group was Junod, who became a pioneering collector in the fields of entomology and botany.

2009 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title  · A Library Journal “Editor’s Pick”
Cover of 'Claim to the Country'

Claim to the Country
The Archive of Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd
By Pippa Skotnes

In the 1870s, facing cultural extinction and the death of their language, several San men and women told their stories to two pioneering colonial scholars in Cape Town, Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd. The narratives of these San—or Bushmen—were of the land, the rain, the history of the first people, and the origin of the moon and stars.

Cover of 'The Emergence of the Moundbuilders'

The Emergence of the Moundbuilders
The Archaeology of Tribal Societies in Southeastern Ohio
Edited by Elliot M. Abrams and AnnCorinne Freter

Native American societies, often viewed as unchanging, in fact experienced a rich process of cultural innovation in the millennia prior to recorded history. Societies of the Hocking River Valley in southeastern Ohio, part of the Ohio River Valley, created a tribal organization beginning about 2000 bc.

Cover of 'New Terrains in Southeast Asian History'

New Terrains in Southeast Asian History
Edited by Abu Talib Ahmad and Tan Liok Ee

At a watershed moment in the scholarly approach to the history of this important region, New Terrains in Southeast Asian History captures the richness and diversity of historical discourse among Southeast Asian scholars. Through the perspectives of scholars who live and work within the region, the book offers readers a rare opportunity to enter into the world of Southeast Asian historiography.

Cover of 'Southern Marches of Imperial Ethiopia'

Southern Marches of Imperial Ethiopia
Essays in History and Social Anthropology
Edited by Donald L. Donham and Wendy James

This pioneering book, first published to wide acclaim in 1986, traces the way the Ethiopian center and the peripheral regions of the country affected each other. It looks specifically at the expansion of the highland Ethiopian state into the western and southern lowlands from the 1890s up to 1974.

Cover of 'Witchcraft Dialogues'

Witchcraft Dialogues
Anthropological and Philosophical Exchanges
Edited by George Clement Bond and Diane M. Ciekawy

Witchcraft Dialogues analyzes the complex manner in which human beings construct, experience, and think about the “occult.” It brings together anthropologists, philosophers, and sociologists, from diverse social and cultural backgrounds, to engage the metaphysical properties of “witchcraft” and “sorcery” and to explore their manifestations in people's lived experiences.

Cover of 'In the Company of Diamonds'

In the Company of Diamonds
De Beers, Kleinzee, and the Control of a Town
By Peter Carstens

After the 1925 discovery of diamonds in the semi-desert of the northwest coast of South Africa, De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd. virtually proclaimed its dominion over the whole region. In the town of Kleinzee, the company owns all the real estate and infrastructure, and controls and administers both the town and the industry.

Cover of 'Rethinking Pastoralism in Africa'

Rethinking Pastoralism in Africa
Gender, Culture, and the Myth of the Patriarchal Pastoralist
Edited by Dorothy L. Hodgson

The dominant trend in pastoralist studies has long assumed that pastoralism and pastoral gender relations are inherently patriarchal. The contributors to this collection, in contrast, use diverse analytic approaches to demonstrate that pastoralist gender relations are dynamic, relational, historical, and produced through complex local-translocal interactions.

Cover of 'The  Bushmen of Southern Africa'

The Bushmen of Southern Africa
A Foraging Society in Transition
By Andy Smith, Candy Malherbe, Mat Gunther, and Penny Berens

This book, by an anthropologist, historian, social anthropologist, and schoolteacher, introduces the long history and current condition of the hunting people of southern Africa to students, teachers, and interested laypersons. It places the modern San in historical context and shows how they have continually adapted to outside pressures, which are forcing them to fit into the modern states of Namibia and Botswana.