VIEWS: 6 PAGES: 4 CATEGORY: Social Sciences POSTED ON: 6/3/2010
Following an introduction, four chapters examine the main thrusts of colonial agricultural policy-the promotion of cash crops falsely opposed to food crops, soil conservation, efforts to modernize "customary" land tenure, and the significant role of chiefs vis--vis land. [...] many factors suggest a dynamic of class differentiation taking place through the specifics of Kiga social and economic systems: the differences in livelihood strategies between poorer and richer; the redefined connections among them-now through labor and food, and (to a diminishing extent) land; and the increasing social separation between them (noted by one person in reference to a decline in commensality).
Book Reviews 205 ship on the pastoral peoples of the eastern Sudan is limited and, especially when it comes to women, the author had very little on which to build. How- ever, she misses opportunities to explore comparisons (with the Nile Valley Sudan, and perhaps even Somalia or low-land Eritrea and Ethiopia), and her theoretical engagement with the relevant studies of Lila Abu-Lughod on settled, formerly pastoral women in Egypt (Veiled Sentiments, University of California Press, 1986), Janice Boddy on conceptualizations of gender and fertility in the northern Nile Valley Sudan (Wombs and Alien Spirits, Uni- versity of Wisconsin Press, 1989), and Caroline Bledsoe’s Contingent Cures: Fertility, Time and Aging in West Africa (University of Chicago Press, 2002), while not entirely absent, remains brief and does not produce theoretical sparks or significant insights. Would this study not have benefited from a more sustained analysis of women’s discourses, as for example in Karin Wil- lemse’s One Foot in Heaven: Narratives on Gender and Islam in Darfur, West- Sudan (Brill, 2007), or of the ambiguities of modernity such as in Heather Sharkey’s Living with Colonialism (University of California Press, 2003)? Finally, the author’s references to the interviews she held during her extensive periods of fieldwork (1989–91 and November 1997–December 1998) are inadequate. Even if one needs to preserve informants’ anonym- ity, providing the date and place of the interview(s) and some indication of context are, to this reviewer’s mind, indispensable. Such a list of interviews would also show how often the author interviewed a certain woman and how well they knew each other. This study includes beautiful photographs and is superbly produced. Given how little has been written about Hadendowa women, past or pres- ent, it is a most welcome contribution. It is hoped that in future publica- tions the author will develop the many aspects that remain undeveloped in this book. Lidwien Kapteijns Wellesley College Wellesle
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