An account of the life of a Ghanaian village during a century of
tumultuous change, this study is also a richly textured
microhistory and an exploration of the meanings of history and
modernity in an African context. The years 1850-1950 witnessed
several momentous and transformative developments in Asante
history, including British annexation and colonial overrule. In
T. C. McCaskie provides a nuanced study of this era 'from below, '
focusing on the everyday lives of commoners in Adeebeba, an
independent village that was engulfed by the expansion of the city
of Kumase in the 20th century. He tells this story through the
words of the villagers themselves, drawing on life histories
collected by the Ashanti Social Survey in the 1940s.
McCaskie provides a deep cultural reading that ranges over
issues of selfhood and community and their impact on the colonial
experience. His discussion touches on questions of identity,
belief, power, money, rights, obligations, gender, sexuality, and
much more. The result is a book compelling in both its historical
detail and its analytic sophistication.
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