The mobilization of local ideas about racial difference has been important in generating, and intensifying, civil wars that have occurred since the end of colonial rule in all of the countries that straddle the southern edge of the Sahara Desert. From Sudan to Mauritania, the racial categories deployed in contemporary conflicts often hearken back to an older history in which blackness could be equated with slavery and non-blackness with predatory and uncivilized banditry. This book traces the development of arguments about race over a period of more than 350 years in one important place along the southern edge of the Sahara Desert: the Niger Bend in northern Mali. Using Arabic documents held in Timbuktu, as well as local colonial sources in French and oral interviews, Bruce S. Hall reconstructs an African intellectual history of race that long predated colonial conquest, and which has continued to orient inter-African relations ever since.
Bruce S. Hall is an assistant professor at Duke University. His work appears in the Journal of North African Studies, the International Journal of African Historical Studies and the Journal of African Studies. Professor Hall previously held positions as an assistant professor at the University at Buffalo (SUNY) and as an Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellow at The Johns Hopkins University.
Introduction; Part I. Race Along the Desert-Edge, c.1600-1900: 1. Making race in the Sahel, c.1600-1900; 2. Reading the blackness of the Sudan, c.1600-1900; Part II. Race and the Colonial Encounter, c.1830-1936: 3. Meeting the Tuareg; 4. Colonial conquest and statecraft in the Niger Bend, c.1893-1936; Part III. The Morality of Descent, 1893-1940: 5. Defending hierarchy: Tuareg arguments about authority and descent, c.1893-1940; 6. Defending slavery: the moral order of inequality, c.1893-1940; 7. Defending the river: Songhay arguments about land, c.1893-1940; Part IV. Race and Decolonization, 1940-60: 8. The racial politics of decolonization, 1940-60; Conclusion.