Cloth In West African History

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Overview

In this holistic approach to the study of textiles and their makers, Colleen Kriger charts the role cotton has played in commercial, community, and labor settings in West Africa. By paying close attention to the details of how people made, exchanged, and wore cotton cloth from before industrialization in Europe to the twentieth century, she is able to demonstrate some of the cultural effects of Africa's long involvement in trading contacts with Muslim societies and with Europe. Cloth in West African History thus offers a fresh perspective on the history of the region and on the local, regional, and global processes that shaped it. A variety of readers will find its account and insights into the African past and culture valuable, and will appreciate the connections made between the local concerns of small-scale weavers in African villages, the emergence of an indigenous textile industry, and its integration into international networks.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
By focusing on the appearance and production of three West African textiles, Kriger also clarifies connections between embellished cloth and politics, which vividly show how textiles articulate with general historical trends and events in the Niger basin area.
— E.P. Renne, University of Michigan
Technology and Culture
This book will definitely satisy historians of technology; it offers a state-of-the-art view of what we know about the history of cloth in West Africa, always explained in outstanding technical detail... sets a new very high standard for the study of textiles in Africa—or really for any part of the world.
— Heather Marie Akou
Museum Anthropology Review
...Kriger's technical analysis of textiles in West African history is rich; her chapters are replete with descriptions of looms and weaving techniques and how diverse materials, including locally produced as well as imported yarns, were valued by local artisans and consumers over time.
— Beth A. Buggenhagen
Africa
...Kriger has...succeeded...[in writing] a social, political, and economic history of the Nigerian culture area by employing sources seldom used by historians...it will be an influential example of how to attempt a regional history of textile production in Africa.
— Onaiwu W. Ogbomo, Western Michigan University
H-Afrarts
...offers much grist for the scholarly mill. It will be useful to students and scholars in a wide range of fields, from archaeology, and history, to art history and anthropology as well as to textile specialists at large.
— February 2007
Reviews in Anthropology
Kriger's meticulous attention to origin and to productive scheme helps the reader understand where things came from and how they became integrated into different societies.
CHOICE
Recommended. All levels/libraries.
Joanne B. Eicher
This book is a 'must read' for scholars and students fascinated by African textiles as well as anyone who wants to learn more about West Africa. Cloth was and continues to be highly prized by West African peoples, and this study provides evidence that weaving, dyeing, and sewing pre-dated contact with Europeans. Kriger brings to her research a background mix of being trained both as an artist as well as a historian. I much admire her work.
Technology and Culture - Heather Marie Akou
This book will definitely satisy historians of technology; it offers a state-of-the-art view of what we know about the history of cloth in West Africa, always explained in outstanding technical detail... sets a new very high standard for the study of textiles in Africa—or really for any part of the world.
CHOICE - E.P. Renne
By focusing on the appearance and production of three West African textiles, Kriger also clarifies connections between embellished cloth and politics, which vividly show how textiles articulate with general historical trends and events in the Niger basin area.
Toyin Falola
This is an outstanding work that turns textile production into textile narratives, a seamless weaving together of the evidence on looms and dyeing to create a brilliant history of textiles as a beautiful garment of a book. Rich analyses embroider a compelling presentation that reveals the author's power to thread together the extensive region of the Lower Niger and the Guinea Coast. As textiles become words of wisdom, we learn about the garments of kings and priests, brides and bridegrooms, and what attire can teach us about Islam and morality, trade and ideas, history and culture.
Museum Anthropology Review - Beth A. Buggenhagen
...Kriger's technical analysis of textiles in West African history is rich; her chapters are replete with descriptions of looms and weaving techniques and how diverse materials, including locally produced as well as imported yarns, were valued by local artisans and consumers over time.
Africa - Onaiwu W. Ogbomo
...Kriger has...succeeded...[in writing] a social, political, and economic history of the Nigerian culture area by employing sources seldom used by historians...it will be an influential example of how to attempt a regional history of textile production in Africa.
H-Afrarts - February 2007
...offers much grist for the scholarly mill. It will be useful to students and scholars in a wide range of fields, from archaeology, and history, to art history and anthropology as well as to textile specialists at large.
October 2008 International Journal Of African Historical Studies
Cloth in West African History is highly recommended for readers...who wish to educate themselves more deeply...who wish to bring material culture studies into their Africa survey, or more specialized, courses....Readable and consistently interesting, Kriger has managed to make a potentially dry subject into one that gives us a sense of the real richness of one sometmes overlooked form of African wealth.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780759104211
  • Publisher: AltaMira Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2006
  • Series: African Archaeology Series
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.68 (w) x 9.34 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Colleen E. Kriger is professor of history at University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Preface Chapter 2 Foreword Chapter 3 Glossary of Technical Terms Chapter 4 Chapter 1: Introduction: Cloth in History Chapter 5 Chapter 2: From Kings and Priests to Brides Chapter 6 Chapter 3: Muslim Garments and the Morality of Dress Chapter 7 Chapter 4: The Worlds of Indigo Blue Chapter 8 Chapter 5: Concluions: Textiles, Culture, and Historical Change Chapter 9 References

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