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Deep Roots: Rice Farmers in West Africa and the African by Edda L. Fields-Black

By Edda L. Fields-Black

Mangrove rice farming on West Africa's Rice Coast was once the replicate photograph of tidewater rice plantations labored by means of enslaved Africans in 18th-century South Carolina and Georgia. This ebook reconstructs the advance of rice-growing expertise one of the Baga and Nalu of coastal Guinea, starting greater than a millennium earlier than the transatlantic slave alternate. It finds an image of dynamic pre-colonial coastal societies, fairly not like the static, homogenous pre-modern Africa of earlier scholarship. From its exam of inheritance, innovation, and borrowing, Deep Roots models a concept of cultural swap that encompasses the variety of groups, cultures, and types of expression in Africa and the African diaspora.

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Extra resources for Deep Roots: Rice Farmers in West Africa and the African Diaspora (Blacks in the Diaspora)

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It is hoped that this pioneering effort will inspire other scholars of all disciplines—particularly archaeologists, botanists, and marine biologists—to conduct independent studies that will enable future historians to add flesh to these bones. Having established why the comparative method of historical linguistics is essential to the telling of this story and how it makes this study unique, the remainder of this section will be devoted to a discussion of theories underpinning the method. To historians employing the comparative method of historical linguistics, words are sources for every facet of society for which its members have designated a name.

These ethnic designations, however, belie a much more complicated reality of identity among coastal inhabitants. Coastal dwellers who identify themselves ethnically as Baga actually speak several languages, some of which are only distantly related.  Beginning north of the Nunez River, the Sitem (Baga Sitem) inhabit islands off the left bank and the mainland on the right bank. The Mboteni (Baga Mboteni) inhabit only two small villages on a peninsula at the tip of the right bank.  The Nalu, Mbulungish, Mboteni, and Sitem languages, which are spoken in the coastal Rio Nunez region and whose speakers are the subject of this study, belong to the Atlantic language group of the Niger-Congo language family.

The combination of the two independent streams of evidence makes a unique contribution to an innovative body of historical research. To historians of other regions of the world who are accustomed to dealing with dates and documents, the sources used in this study—cultural vocabulary words, sound changes, scientific studies of mangrove vegetation, and oral traditions—may seem unorthodox, nontraditional, and even anthropological. ) The paucity of written sources discussed throughout this chapter is not at all unique to coastal Introduction 21 Guinea.

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