Academic journal article African Studies Review

The Ways of the Mandara Mountains: A Comparative Regional Approach

Academic journal article African Studies Review

The Ways of the Mandara Mountains: A Comparative Regional Approach

Article excerpt

ANTHROPOLOGY AND SOCIOLOGY Judith Sterner. The Ways of the Mandara Mountains: A Comparative Regional Approach. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag, 2003. Westafrikanische Studien Band 28. 317 pp. Maps. Figures. Tables. References. Appendixes. Bibliography. euro39.80. Paper

This book comes out of a Ph.D. dissertation directed by Richard Fardon at SOAS in London. It presents the results of a larger, long-term research program undertaken by scholars from the University of Calgary, Sterner and Nie David foremost among them. Building on the work of Pardon, Sterner considers the anthropological conundrum of regional analysis and then takes the Mandara Mountains region as a case in point. She is refreshingly direct about the dilemmas, problems, and possibilities of undertaking anthropological, archaeological, and archival research in an area spanning two nation-states (Nigeria and Cameroon) and containing a large number of ethnic groups in a variety of different political and social formations. Some of the montagnard groups famously survived the Fulbe razzias and remained un-Islamicized until the advent of colonization. One of the ironies of colonial rule is that it exacerbated the slave-taking in some areas where indirect rule meant that Fulbe district heads were supported by British and French rifles. One of the most renowned kingdoms, Sukur, has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site, and the existence of monolithic stone works in picturesque mountains has been a lure for tourists, archaeologists, and anthropologists alike. …

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