A Green Place, A Good Place: Agrarian Change and Social Identity in the Great Lakes Region to the 15th Century / Edition 1

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An evocative and poignant history of Lakes region societies in Africa from the last millennium BC to the fifteenth century.
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Editorial Reviews

The Great Lakes region of Africa comprises about 160,000 square miles, with Lake Victoria as one of its loci. This thorough investigation traces the many themes of the region's social change and social history, in particular, the way changes in social life and the environment mutually reinforce one another. More generally, this study develops a methodology of writing about social history before the 15th century that incorporates philosophies of gender, health, and social justice, and "narrates the dialectical historical interplay of environment, agriculture, and social practice in shaping historical experience and consciousness" (from the introduction). Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
From the Publisher
“[P]acked with serious, imaginative, and impressive scholarship that greatly advances both the range and depth of knowledge about early East Africa.”–Choice

“In an era when African Historians prefer to restrict themselves to colonial history, David Schoenbrun demonstrates that not only is precolonial history possible, but that a sophisticated mix of historical linguistics, political and semantic anthropology, and close attention to oral sources and customs can produce a powerful account of the ancient history of a region. Schoenbrun's study will cause us to rethink precolonial African history; it demonstrates that history in Africa can be done at time depths that most historians would be unwilling to examine, and it will be a model for future studies in Africa and elsewhere.”–Ivan Karp, Emory University

“This is serious stuff. It is solid, heavy, and very articulate. David Schoenbrun has made a major difference in our understanding of the Great Lakes history and cultures. This book will command the attention of any Africanist for many, many years to come.”–V.Y. Mudimbe, Stanford and Duke Universities

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780325000404
  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • Publication date: 10/23/1998
  • Series: Social History of Africa Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 302
  • Age range: 18 years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

David Lee Schoenbrun has been studying, writing, and teaching about African history for 20 years. A member of the History Department at the University of Georgia, he directed that university's African Studies Program in 1996-1997.
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Table of Contents



Finding the Way Back


2. The Roots of Agricultural Abundance: 1000 B.C. to A.D. 1500

The Challenges of Prosperity: Social Identity, Politics, and Health to A.D. 500


4. The Kivu Rift Valley

By Lake Victoria

Into the Savannah

Epilog: The Two Powers Since the Fifteenth Century

A Note on Evidence



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