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The Anthropology of Slavery

The Womb of Iron and Gold

This controversial examination of precolonial African slavery looks at the various social systems that made slavery on such a scale possible and argues that the institutions of slavery were far more complex and pervasive than previously suspected.

422 pages | 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 | © 1991

African Studies

Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology

Table of Contents

Note on Glossary
Publisher’s Note on Translation
Introductory Chapter: Kin and Aliens
Part I - The Womb: The Dialectic of Slavery
1. The Historical Dimension of Slavery in West Africa
2. Extraneousness
3. Sterility
4. Profits and Accumulation
5. Unborn and Reprieved from Death
6. Promotion of Slaves
7. Half-Breed Slaves
Transition: Revenge of the anti-Kin
Part II - Iron: Aristocratic Slavery
A. Slavery and Power
1. The Coming of the Brigands
2. The Great Task of the Kings
3. The Divine Court
B. The War Economy
1. Cases
2. Analyses
Part III - Gold: Merchant Slavery
1. The Land of the Merchants
2. The Spread of Slavery within the Peasantry
3. Forms of Exploitation
4. The Internal Market for Slaves
5. To Buy or to Breed?
6. The Disintegration of Slavery
Index of Proper Names
Subject Index


African Studies Association: Melville J. Herskovits Award

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