What was it like to be colonized by foreigners? Highlighting a region in central Congo, in the center of sub-Saharan Africa, Being Colonized places Africans at the heart of the story. In a richly textured history that will appeal to general readers and students as well as to scholars, the distinguished historian Jan Vansina offers t just accounts of colonial administrators, missionaries, and traders, but the varied voices of a colonized people. Vansina uncovers the history revealed in local news, customs, gossip, and even dreams, as related by African villagers through archival documents, material culture, and oral interviews. Vansina's case study of the colonial experience is the realm of Kuba, a kingdom in Congo about the size of New Jersey--and two-thirds the size of its colonial master, Belgium. The experience of its inhabitants is the story of colonialism, from its earliest manifestations to its tumultuous end. What happened in Kuba happened to varying degrees throughout Africa and other colonized regions: racism, ecomic exploitation, indirect rule, Christian conversion, modernization, disease and healing, and transformations in gender relations. The Kuba, like others, took their own active part in history, responding to the changes and calamities that colonization set in motion. Vansina follows the region's inhabitants from the late nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century, when a new elite emerged on the eve of Congo's dramatic passage to independence.
Jan Vansina, now emeritus, held the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professorship and the Vilas Professorship in History and Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His many books include his memoir Living with Africa, as well as Oral Tradition as History, Antecedents to Rwanda, Kingdoms of the Savanna, The Children of Woot, and Paths in the Rainforests, all published by the University of Wisconsin Press. Considered one of the founders of the academic field of African studies, he was the second scholar chosen as Distinguished Africanist by the African Studies Association of the United States.
University of Wisconsin Press
Date of Publication
Popular Culture & Media: General Interest
Africa and the Diaspora: History, Politics, Culture