Outsiders and Strangers: An Archaeology of Liminality in West Africa

Hardcover | September 15, 2013

byAnne Haour

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Studies of liminality have a long history in anthropology. In archaeology, identifying past people - rather than faceless entities - through material culture is still a work in progress, but a project that has seen increased attention in recent years. Focusing on West Africa, this book arguesthat we should explore what happens when the primary label assigned to a person's identity is that of an outsider - when he or she is of, but not in, society. Such outsiders can be found everywhere in the West African past: rulers show off their foreign descent, traders migrate to new areas, pottersand blacksmiths claim to be apart from society. Thus far, however, it is mainly historians and anthropologists who have tackled the question of outsiders or liminal people. This book asks what archaeology can bring to the debate, and drawing together for the first time the extensive literature on the subject of outsiders, looks in detail at therole they played in the past 1000 years of the West African past, in particular in the construction of great empires.

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Studies of liminality have a long history in anthropology. In archaeology, identifying past people - rather than faceless entities - through material culture is still a work in progress, but a project that has seen increased attention in recent years. Focusing on West Africa, this book arguesthat we should explore what happens when the...

Anne Haour is a Reader in the Arts and Archaeology of Africa at the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom. An archaeologist with a background in anthropology, she has written widely on the West African past and developed theoretical questions in several publications.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:232 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.98 inPublished:September 15, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199697744

ISBN - 13:9780199697748

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Table of Contents

PrefaceAcknowledgmentsList of Figures1. Introduction2. Rulers from Afar3. Strangers, Traders4. Craft Specialists5. Empires6. ConclusionBibliographyIndex