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Siaya: the Historical Anthropology of an African Landscape


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About the Author

David William Cohen is a professor of anthropology and history at the University of Michigan. He is the author of The Historical Tradition of Busoga: Mukama and Kintu, The Combing of History, and Womunafu's Bunafu.

E. S. Atieno Odhiambo was a professor of history at Rice University. He is the author of The Paradox of Collaboration and Other Essays, and Siaya: Politics and Nationalism in East Africa, 1905-1939. He is the editor of African Historians and African Voices and coeditor, with David William Cohen, of The Risks of Knowledge.


"This is a highly innovative book. ... If Siaya is to be judged by the richness and complexity of its portrayal of Luo culture (as its authors intended), then it is undoubtedly a hugely enjoyable success. Everyone who reads the book will gain a great deal from the experience."

-- David M. Anderson, Africa
"This is an excellent work ... clearly one of the most provocative, stimulating, perceptive, sensitive, and attractive works in East African social research to appear in recent decades. No East Africanist can afford to neglect it. ... The chapter on women is brilliant. ... The penultimate chapter on how modern values percolate down to the African grassroots is as provocative and brilliant as the preceding one on women. Throughout the book the authors beautifully interlace historical and ethnographic data with pertinent extracts from contemporary Luo novels, poems, popular songs, newspaper articles, memoirs, and their own personal reminiscences."

-- T.O. Beidelman, Anthropos
"This is a book which every historian and anthropologist working on Africa should read. It is engagingly and creatively written. It says a very large number of important things."

-- Henrietta L. Moore, The Journal of Peasant Studies

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