Pragmatism in the Age of Jihad: The Precolonial State of Bundu / Edition 1

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Bundu is an anomaly among the precolonial Muslim states of West Africa. Founded during the jihads which swept the savannah in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it developed a pragmatic policy, unique in the midst of fundamentalist, theocratic Muslim states. Located in the Upper Senegal and with access to the Upper Gambia, Bundu played a critical role in regional commerce and production and reacted quickly to the stimulus of European trade. Drawing on a wide range of sources both oral and documentary, Arabic, English and French, Dr. Gomez provides the first full account of Bundu's history. He analyzes the foundation and growth of an Islamic state at a crossroads between the Saharan and trans-Atlantic trade, paying particular attention to the relationship between Islamic thought and court policy, and to the state's response to militant Islam in the early nineteenth century.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Gomez has used a wide variety of documentary and oral sources. He is a careful scholar who treats his oral sources with a healthy skepticism, analyzing each in terms of its ideological function. ... This book is competent... It will remain for many years the basic source for Bundu." Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"...Gomez's accomplishment is impressive. He has written the first modern political history of Bundu and has revised our understanding of the origins and religio-political character of the Bundunke state. His book provides specialists with a valuable chronology of events from the foundation of the state until is dissolution in 1905. He thereby makes an important contribution both to the history of precolonial Senegambia and to the study of Islam in West Africa." American Historical Review

"The author has made extensive use of oral sources and written works in Arabic, local West African languages, French, and English. The text is readable, the scholarship sound, the index useful, the bibliography extensive, the maps adequate, and the 11 appendixes informative. Gomez's book will long remain the indispensable work on this subject." Choice

"Michael Gomez has written what will probably be the reference history of Bundu for years to come....It is an important work for any scholar of Islamic West Africa and can be recommended as a supplementary case study text for advanced level courses on Islam in Africa." John Edward Philips, African Studies Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521528474
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/4/2002
  • Series: African Studies Series, #75
  • Edition description: FIRST/REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Table of Contents

List of maps; Abbreviations; Notes on spelling; Acknowledgements; 1. Introduction; 2. Malik Sy and the origins of a pragmatic polity; 3. Consolidation and expansion in the eighteenth century; 4. External reforms and internal consequences: Futa Toro and Bundu; 5. The reassertion of Sissibe integrity; 6. Structure of the Bundunke Almaamate; 7. Struggle for the Upper Senegal Valley; 8. Al-Hajj Umar in Bundu; 9. The age of Bokar Saada; 10. Mamadu Lamine and the demise of Bundu; 11. Conclusion; Footnotes; Sources consulted; Appendices.

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