Intermediaries, Interpreters, And Clerks: African Employees In The Making Of Colonial Africa

Paperback | August 4, 2015

EditorBenjamin N. Lawrance, Emily Lynn Osborn, Richard L. Roberts

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As a young man in South Africa, Nelson Mandela aspired to be an interpreter or clerk, noting in his autobiography that “a career as a civil servant was a glittering prize for an African.” Africans in the lower echelons of colonial bureaucracy often held positions of little official authority, but in practice these positions were lynchpins of colonial rule. As the primary intermediaries among European colonial officials, African chiefs, and subject populations, these civil servants could manipulate the intersections of power, authority, and knowledge at the center of colonial society.
            By uncovering the role of such men (and a few women) in the construction, function, and legal apparatus of colonial states, the essays in this volume highlight a new perspective. They offer important insights on hegemony, collaboration, and resistance, structures and changes in colonial rule, the role of language and education, the production of knowledge and expertise in colonial settings, and the impact of colonization in dividing African societies by gender, race, status, and class.

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As a young man in South Africa, Nelson Mandela aspired to be an interpreter or clerk, noting in his autobiography that “a career as a civil servant was a glittering prize for an African.” Africans in the lower echelons of colonial bureaucracy often held positions of little official authority, but in practice these positions were lynchp...

Benjamin N. Lawrance is the Hon. Barber B. Conable, Jr. Endowed Professor of International Studies and Professor of History and Anthropology at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Emily Lynn Osborn is an associate professor of history at the University of Chicago. Richard L. Roberts is the Frances and Charles Field Professor of Hist...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:342 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:August 4, 2015Publisher:University Of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0299219542

ISBN - 13:9780299219543

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
 
Introduction: African Intermediaries and the “Bargain” of Collaboration
Benjamin N. Lawrance, Emily Lynn Osborn, and Richard L. Roberts
 
The Formative Period of Colonial Rule, ca. 1800–1920
 
An Interpreter Will Arise: Resurrecting Jan Tzatzoe’s Diplomatic and Evangelical Contributions as a Cultural Intermediary on South Africa’s Eastern Cape Frontier, 1816–1818
Roger S. Levine
 
Interpreting Colonial Power in French Guinea: The Boubou Penda–Ernest Noirot Affair of 1905
Emily Lynn Osborn
 
Interpretation and Interpolation: Shepstone as Native Interpreter
Thomas McClendon
 
Petitioners, “Bush Lawyers,” and Letter Writers: Court Access in British-Occupied Lomé, 1914–1920
Benjamin N. Lawrance
 
Negotiating Legal Authority in French West Africa: The Colonial Administration and African Assessors, 1903–1918
Ruth Ginio
 
The Maturing Phase of Colonial Rule, ca. 1920–1960
 
“Collecting Customary Law”: Educated Africans, Ethnographic Writings, and Colonial Justice in French West Africa
Jean-Hervé Jézéquel
 
Interpreters Self-Interpreted: The Autobiographies of Two Colonial Clerks
Ralph A. Austen
 
African Court Elders in Nyanza Province, Kenya, ca. 1930–1960: From “Traditional” to “Modern”
Brett L. Shadle
 
Power and Influence of African Court Clerks and Translators in Colonial Kenya: The Case of Khwisero Native (African) Court, 1946–1956
Maurice Nyamanga Amutabi
 
The District Clerk and the “Man-Leopard Murders”: Mediating Law and Authority in Colonial Nigeria
David Pratten
 
Cultural Commuters: African Employees in Late Colonial Tanzania
Andreas Eckert
 
Afterword

African Participation in Colonial Rule: The Role of Clerks, Interpreters, and Other Intermediaries
Martin Klein
 
Appendix: Personnel Files and the Role of Qadis and Interpreters in the Colonial Administration of Saint-Louis, Senegal, 1857–1911
Saliou Mbaye
 
Bibliography

Contributors

Index

Acknowledgments      

Editorial Reviews

Intermediaries, Interpreters, and Clerks has its greatest strength in the diverse vignettes of life across Africa under a variety of colonial regimes and through nearly two centuries of history.”—James E. Genova, Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History