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On Trans-Saharan Trails: Islamic Law, Trade Networks, and Cross-Cultural Exchange in Nineteenth-Century Western Africa
     

On Trans-Saharan Trails: Islamic Law, Trade Networks, and Cross-Cultural Exchange in Nineteenth-Century Western Africa

by Ghislaine Lydon
 

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ISBN-10: 0521887240

ISBN-13: 9780521887243

Pub. Date: 02/28/2009

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

This study is the first of its kind to examine the history and organization of trans-Saharan trade in western Africa using original source material. It documents the internal dynamics of a trade network system based on a case-study of the Wad Nun traders, who specialized in outfitting camel caravans in the nineteenth century. Through an examination of contracts,

Overview

This study is the first of its kind to examine the history and organization of trans-Saharan trade in western Africa using original source material. It documents the internal dynamics of a trade network system based on a case-study of the Wad Nun traders, who specialized in outfitting camel caravans in the nineteenth century. Through an examination of contracts, correspondence, fatwas, and interviews with retired caravaners, Lydon shows how traders used their literacy skills in Arabic and how they had recourse to experts of Islamic law to regulate their long-distance transactions. The book also examines the methods employed by women participating in caravan trade. By embracing a continental approach, this study bridges the divide between West African and North African studies. The work will be of interest to historians of African, Middle Eastern, and world history and to scholars of long-distance trade, Muslim societies, and Islamic law.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521887243
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
02/28/2009
Pages:
496
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 4.30(d)

Table of Contents

1. Making history across the African divide; 2. Trans-Saharan trade in the longue durée; 3. Markets and the movement of caravans: nineteenth-century developments; 4. Guelmīm and the Wād Nūn traders; 5. The organization of caravan trade; 6. Business practice and legal culture in a paper economy of faith; 7. Trade networks and the limits of cooperative behavior; 8. On trans-Saharan trails.

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