Being Colonized: The Kuba Experience in Rural Congo, 1880?1960

Paperback | March 18, 2010

byJan Vansina

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What was it like to be colonized by foreigners? Highlighting a region in central Congo, in the center of sub-Saharan Africa, Being Colonized places Africans at the heart of the story. In a richly textured history that will appeal to general readers and students as well as to scholars, the distinguished historian Jan Vansina offers not just accounts of colonial administrators, missionaries, and traders, but the varied voices of a colonized people. Vansina uncovers the history revealed in local news, customs, gossip, and even dreams, as related by African villagers through archival documents, material culture, and oral interviews.
    Vansina’s case study of the colonial experience is the realm of Kuba, a kingdom in Congo about the size of New Jersey—and two-thirds the size of its colonial master, Belgium. The experience of its inhabitants is the story of colonialism, from its earliest manifestations to its tumultuous end. What happened in Kuba happened to varying degrees throughout Africa and other colonized regions: racism, economic exploitation, indirect rule, Christian conversion, modernization, disease and healing, and transformations in gender relations. The Kuba, like others, took their own active part in history, responding to the changes and calamities that colonization set in motion. Vansina follows the region’s inhabitants from the late nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century, when a new elite emerged on the eve of Congo’s dramatic passage to independence.

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What was it like to be colonized by foreigners? Highlighting a region in central Congo, in the center of sub-Saharan Africa, Being Colonized places Africans at the heart of the story. In a richly textured history that will appeal to general readers and students as well as to scholars, the distinguished historian Jan Vansina offers not ...

Jan Vansina, now emeritus, held the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professorship and the Vilas Professorship in History and Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His many books include his memoir Living with Africa, as well as Oral Tradition as History, Antecedents to Rwanda, Kingdoms of the Savanna, The Children of ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:348 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.1 inPublished:March 18, 2010Publisher:University Of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0299236447

ISBN - 13:9780299236441

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations   
Acknowledgments   
A Note on Spelling and Pronunciation   

Introduction   
1 Congo: Becoming a Colony   
2 The Colonial Relationship   
3 Incidental Conquest   
4 Company Rule and Its Consequences   
5 Were the Kuba Nearly Wiped Out?   
6 Fifty Years of Belgian Rule: An Overview   
7 A Kingdom Preserved   
8 Village Life: 1911–1950s   
9 In Pursuit of Harmony   
10 Visions for a Different Future   
11 Toward a New World   
Conclusion: The Experience of Being Colonized   

Index   

Editorial Reviews

“This may be Vansina’s best book yet. . . . He has trodden the Kuba ground, talked to the people, and collected data for a half century, giving the book greater intimacy and authority than anything else he has written. . . .In African historiography we are all Vansina’s students, even when we argue with him. Being Colonized is written with the assurance of a master.”—Wyatt MacGaffey, Africa: The Journal of the International African Institute