Speaking with Vampires: Rumor and History in Colonial Africa

University of California Press, 9 mai 2000 - 368 pages
During the colonial period, Africans told each other terrifying rumors that Africans who worked for white colonists captured unwary residents and took their blood. In colonial Tanganyika, for example, Africans were said to be captured by these agents of colonialism and hung upside down, their throats cut so their blood drained into huge buckets. In Kampala, the police were said to abduct Africans and keep them in pits, where their blood was sucked. Luise White presents and interprets vampire stories from East and Central Africa as a way of understanding the world as the storytellers did. Using gossip and rumor as historical sources in their own right, she assesses the place of such evidence, oral and written, in historical reconstruction.

White conducted more than 130 interviews for this book and did research in Kenya, Uganda, and Zambia. In addition to presenting powerful, vivid stories that Africans told to describe colonial power, the book presents an original epistemological inquiry into the nature of historical truth and memory, and into their relationship to the writing of history.

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Pages sélectionnées

Table des matières

Blood and Words Writing History with and about Vampire Stories
Historicizing Rumor and Gossip
Bandages on Your Mouth The Experience of Colonial Medicine in East and Central Africa
Why Is Petrol Red? The Experience of Skilled and Semi Skilled Lahor in East and Central Africa
A Special Danger Gender Property and Blood in Nairobi 19191939
Roast Mutton Captivity Labor Trade and Catholic Missions in Colonial Northern Rhodesia
Blood Bugs and Archives Debates over SleepingSickness Control in Colonial Northern Rhodesia I93II939
Citizenship and Censorship Politics Newspapers and a Stupefier of Several Women in Kampala in the 1950s
Class Struggle and Cannibalism Storytelling and History Writing on the Copperbelts of Colonial Northern Rhodesia and the Belgian Congo

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Page v - But, on the other hand, these new freedmen became sellers of themselves only after they had been robbed of all their own means of production, and of all the guarantees of existence afforded by the old feudal arrangements. And the history of this, their expropriation, is written in the annals of mankind in letters of blood and fire.
Page v - Hence, the historical movement which changes the producers into wageworkers, appears, on the one hand, as their emancipation from serfdom and from the fetters of the guilds, and this side alone exists for our bourgeois historians.

À propos de l'auteur (2000)

Luise White is Associate Professor of History at the University of Florida. Her previous book, The Comforts of Home: Prostitution in Colonial Nairobi (1990), won the Herskovits Prize of the African Studies Association.

Informations bibliographiques