University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Centre of African Studies Lent Seminar Series > Segou Fanga – Tamani Kafu: towards an archaeology of Mande political tradition (AD 1200-1850)

Segou Fanga – Tamani Kafu: towards an archaeology of Mande political tradition (AD 1200-1850)

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Work on the early urban systems of Mande Africa since the 1970s has indicated that their organisation was effectively heterarchical. Likewise, Roderick McIntosh in his book The Peoples of the Middle Niger has argued that Mande society prior to meeting with the ‘Islamic Imperial Tradition’ was also horizontally, rather than vertically organised. Yet there are alternatives to this explanation. At the heart of historic Mande political organisation there is the dichotomy of the kafu (confederacy) and the fanga (state power), just as there are markadugu (heterarchical urban centres) and fadugu (‘capitals’ or ‘towns of power’). Using a range of archaeological and historic sources the long-term and sometimes cyclic co-existence of these two systems within the Mande world will be advocated.

This talk is part of the Centre of African Studies Lent Seminar Series series.

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