By Edna G. Bay

Other halves of the Leopard explores continual and tradition in a pre-colonial West African kingdom whose military of ladies and perform of human sacrifice earned it notoriety within the racist mind's eye of overdue nineteenth-century Europe and the United States. Tracing 2 hundred years of the heritage of Dahomey as much as the French colonial conquest in 1894, the e-book follows swap in principal associations. One was once the monarchy, the coalitions of fellows and girls who seized and wielded energy within the identify of the king. the second one used to be the palace, a loved ones of a number of thousand better halves of the king who supported and controlled country functions.Looking at Dahomey opposed to the backdrop of the Atlantic slave alternate and the expansion of eu imperialism, Edan G. Bay reaches for a especially Dahomean standpoint as she weaves jointly facts drawn from tourists' memoirs and native oral debts, from the spiritual practices of vodun, and from ethnographic reports of the 20th century. better halves of the Leopard completely integrates gender into the political research of kingdom platforms, successfully making a social historical past of energy. extra commonly, it argues that girls as an entire and males of the decrease periods have been steadily squeezed out of entry to persistent as monetary assets reduced in size with the decline of the slave exchange within the 19th century. In those and alternative ways, the publication presents an obtainable portrait of Dahomey's advanced and interesting tradition with out exoticizing it.

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Published accounts and from oral narratives collected in the field (by themselves or others), the work of most can be distinguished by a heavy reliance on one or the other major areas of evidence, either oral accounts or archival and travelers' records. What is striking about the work of those who concentrate on the archival record, for example, is the degree to which the concerns of the Europeans who provide their fundamental evidence are reflected in the kinds of questions that the historians ask.

The royal dynasty reigned in both worlds, and lin­ eages and their members enjoyed the same relative status and wealth in Kutome as their kinspeople in the visible world. Birth and death were passage points from one world to the other; communications between the two were maintained through prayer and divination. Ancestors in Along the Slave Coast 23 Kutome were ranked hierarchically according to their date of arrival, just as children in the visible world were ranked according to the date oftheir birth.

He carefully recorded oral accounts of prominent members of the royal family, drawing most centrally on the knowledge ofAgbidinukun, a son ofGlele and one of a number ofprofessional court historians responsible for learning and conveying the history of the king­ dom. Closely allied to the children of Behanzin through his marriage to a daughter of that king, Le Herisse helped to shape the twentieth-century history of Dahomey by attempting to integrate an understanding ofAfri­ can culture into administrative and judicial processes.

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