2005 • $35.00 • 288 pp • paper
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This book examines the relationship between Sangalanka's struggle over memories and the history of their identities and social relations. It is based on the politics of memory of different corporate groups (elites and subordinates, men and women), their shared philosophy of history and the human person and the sociology of pre-colonial (1850-1920) and colonial (1920-1958) Sangalan (northeast of Guinea). It focuses on the accounts of past events, which Sangalan corporate groups used to not only define themselves, but also shape or reshape their relations with other corporate groups and outside forces. N'Daou interprets Sangalanka's accounts of past events as both the vehicles of a commonly shared philsophy of history and the human person and the instruments of the ideological struggle in which individual and social groups were engaged in order to gain access to power, land, and labor. They were determined not only by the initiatives and interests of the Sangalan elites. Subordinates created their own variants of the oral traditions in order to carve out a space of relative autonomy for themselves, as conscious and responsible agents of their history. The temporal frame is between 1850, after the destruction of the Dialonka Empire of Tamba and the emergence of Sangalan as an independent state, and 1958, when Guinea achieved independence from France. The sources are written and oral data; an ensemble of symbols and representations of the past that Sangalan corporate groups elaborated or acknowledged the validity and used at different historical periods.