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Deep Roots: Rice Farmers in West Africa and the African Diaspora
     

Deep Roots: Rice Farmers in West Africa and the African Diaspora

by Edda L. Fields-Black
 

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Mangrove rice farming on West Africa's Rice Coast was the mirror image of tidewater rice plantations worked by enslaved Africans in 18th-century South Carolina and Georgia. This book reconstructs the development of rice-growing technology among the Baga and Nalu of coastal Guinea, beginning more than a millennium before the transatlantic slave trade. It reveals a

Overview

Mangrove rice farming on West Africa's Rice Coast was the mirror image of tidewater rice plantations worked by enslaved Africans in 18th-century South Carolina and Georgia. This book reconstructs the development of rice-growing technology among the Baga and Nalu of coastal Guinea, beginning more than a millennium before the transatlantic slave trade. It reveals a picture of dynamic pre-colonial coastal societies, quite unlike the static, homogenous pre-modern Africa of previous scholarship. From its examination of inheritance, innovation, and borrowing, Deep Roots fashions a theory of cultural change that encompasses the diversity of communities, cultures, and forms of expression in Africa and the African diaspora.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An imaginative book... The writing is good and the ideas important." —Judith Carney, author of Black Rice: The African Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas

"This study is an excellent contribution to the growing literature on food in precolonial Africa.... [I]t is a trailblazing work in its innovative amalgamation of archaeological, linguistic, and written source materials." —International Journal of African Historical Studies

"Deep Roots, an important and innovative book, pioneers a multidisciplinary methodology, which substantially compensates for the lack of written documentation... and archeology data during the formative period of the transatlantic slave trade in Africa." —American Historical Review

" —

Choice

"... Fields-Black manages to make her research and its implications accessible to a wider audience.... Readers will appreciate the book's clarity of expression and revealing discussions of historical analysis and argumentation.... Recommended." —Choice, December 2009

International Journal of African Historical Studies
"This study is an excellent contribution to the growing literature on food in precolonial Africa.... it is a trailblazing work in its innovative amalgamation of archaeological, linguistic, and written source materials." —Jeremy Rich, Middle Tennessee State University, Vol. 42.2 2009

— Jeremy Rich, Middle Tennessee State University

African History
"[This] book makes a significant contribution to our understanding of rice cultivation in West Africa...." —Erik Gilbert, Arkansas State University, African History, Vol. 50 2009

— Erik Gilbert, Arkansas State University

Journal of Interdisciplinary History
"In fine, Deep Roots represents an important contribution to the literature on risiculture in West Africa...." —Peter A. Coclanis, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, JRNL INTERDISCIPLINARY HISTORY, XL.4 Spring 2010

— Peter A. Coclanis, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

African Studies Review
"Deep Roots is a valuable addition to research on African rice systems and their origins....it contributes to the understanding of the rich cultural diversity of the coastal region extending from Gambia south and east to Liberia." —Laurence C. Becker, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, AFRICAN STUDIES REVIEW, Vol. 53.1 April 2010

— Laurence C. Becker, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon

The Journal of Southern History

"Fields-Black has written an important book, thoroughly researched, persuasively argued, and engagingly written. It adds a major new chapter to our understanding of the African diaspora." —The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 76, No. 3, August 2010

Georgia Historical Quarterly

"Fields-Black has written an important groundbreaking agricultural and Diasporic cultural history." —Georgia Historical Quarterly

Historian
"On the whole, Fields-Black has offered a stimulating study that deserves attention in graduate seminars... in African history... and in African diaspora studies." —HISTORIAN, December, 2010
International Jrnl of African Historical Studies - Jeremy Rich

"This study is an excellent contribution to the growing literature on food in precolonial Africa.... it is a trailblazing work in its innovative amalgamation of archaeological, linguistic, and written source materials." —Jeremy Rich, Middle Tennessee State University, Vol. 42.2 2009

SC) Community Times Dispatch (Walterboro

"While Deep Roots is a scholarly endeavor anyone interested in South Carolina’s rice history or African history would find it both fascinating and full of interesting facts, stories, illustrations and graphs that bring the story to life." —Community Times Dispatch (Walterboro, SC), February 18, 2009

Judith Carney

"An imaginative book... The writing is good and the ideas important." —Judith Carney, author of Black Rice: The African Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas

LaRay Denzer

"Fields-Black... offers important new insights into West African agricultural history and the dynamics of diasporic connections." —LaRay Denzer, Northwestern University

C. L. Goucher

Fields-Black (history, Carnegie-Mellon Univ.) digs out key periods in the technological history of West Africa's coastal littoral by focusing on historical linguistics and tracing environmentally specific knowledge and its use in tidewater rice farming. Despite the potentially esoteric focus on the precolonial (first millennium) history of a sub-region of West Africa and the use of specialist methodologies, Fields-Black manages to make her research and its implications accessible to a wider audience. The volume's final chapter on the African diaspora is a bridge between precolonial coastal Africa and the technology of the American South in the slave trade era explored by Judith Carney in Black Rice: The African Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas (CH, Oct'01, 39-0928). Readers will appreciate the book's clarity of expression and revealing discussions of historical analysis and argumentation. The author's interdisciplinary and comparative approaches challenge archaeological theories of diffusion from the inland Niger Delta to the 'rice coast' and sharpen the understanding of technology transfer and dynamic cultural change in the Atlantic era. Summing Up: Recommended. Research and classroom use at undergraduate and graduate levels. -- ChoiceC. L. Goucher, Washington State University, December 2009

African History - Erik Gilbert

"[This] book makes a significant contribution to our understanding of rice cultivation in West Africa...." —Erik Gilbert, Arkansas State University, African History, Vol. 50 2009

JRNL INTERDISCIPLINARY HISTORY - Peter A. Coclanis

"In fine, Deep Roots represents an important contribution to the literature on risiculture in West Africa...." —Peter A. Coclanis, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, JRNL INTERDISCIPLINARY HISTORY, XL.4 Spring 2010

AFRICAN STUDIES REVIEW - Laurence C. Becker

"Deep Roots is a valuable addition to research on African rice systems and their origins....it contributes to the understanding of the rich cultural diversity of the coastal region extending from Gambia south and east to Liberia." —Laurence C. Becker, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, AFRICAN STUDIES REVIEW, Vol. 53.1 April 2010

HISTORIAN

"On the whole, Fields-Black has offered a stimulating study that deserves attention in graduate seminars... in African history... and in African diaspora studies." —HISTORIAN, December, 2010

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780253016102
Publisher:
Indiana University Press
Publication date:
07/11/2014
Series:
Blacks in the Diaspora Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
296
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Edda L. Fields-Black is an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University, specializing in pre-colonial and West African history. With research interests extending into the African diaspora, for more than 15 years Fields-Black has traveled to and lived in Guinea, Sierra Leone, South Carolina, and Georgia to uncover the history of African rice farmers and rice cultures.

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