Constructions of Belonging: Igbo Communities and the by Axel Harneit-Sievers

By Axel Harneit-Sievers

Buildings of Belonging presents a historical past of neighborhood groups residing in Southeastern Nigeria because the past due 19th century, reading the tactics that experience outlined, replaced, and re-produced those groups. Harneit-Sievers explores either the meanings and the makes use of that the group participants have given to their specific components, whereas additionally the tactics that experience formed neighborhood groups, and feature made them paintings and stay appropriate, in an international ruled by way of the trendy territorial kingdom and through world wide flows of individuals, items, and concepts. Axel Harneit-Sievers is a examine fellow on the middle for contemporary Oriental stories, and director of the Nigeria place of work of the Heinrich B?ll beginning in Lagos.

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Extra info for Constructions of Belonging: Igbo Communities and the Nigerian State in the Twentieth Century (Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora)

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The land and homesteads along a given path (ama) are usually those of the men of one patrilineage, consisting, in the case of settlement by a small unit, of male siblings and their children, or, in larger settlements, of several such groups related patrilineally. This pattern of settlement has, however, broken down in congested areas of continuous cultivation . . belts of bush between former centers have been cleared and occupied, so that all that remains to-day is a continuous spread of homesteads and meeting places connected by a network of paths.

Igbo local historians, many nonacademics among them, have been writing and publishing books about the history and culture of their home communities since the colonial period, and have been doing so in ever-increasing numbers since the 1980s (see chapter 9). However, in many cases colonial officers, government anthropologists, and missionaries undertook the earliest documentation of contemporary culture and oral traditions. Much of this material was collected between the 1910s and the 1930s, relying on local informants who still had personal recollections of late nineteenth-century Igbo society before the onset of colonialism.

Masquerade and dance performances during festivals reenact historical events and support the reproduction of a community’s social memory over time, often in conflicting variants (Bentor 1994; McCall 2000). 4 Because of a number of apparent similarities between Igbo and Jewish culture, he speculated that the Igbo were one of the lost tribes of Israel—and numerous writers since then have followed this line. This view of Igbo origins has gained some prominence among local authors (Ike 1951) and even academics (Alaezi 1999).

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