|About the Book|
This study of the Nkoya people in central western Zambia examines in detail the ways in which ethnicity both creates, and feeds upon, ethno-history. It also assesses the possibility of reconstructing objective historical processes in the region sinceMoreThis study of the Nkoya people in central western Zambia examines in detail the ways in which ethnicity both creates, and feeds upon, ethno-history. It also assesses the possibility of reconstructing objective historical processes in the region since the 16th century, including state formation and changing patterns in the economy, gender relations, ideology, symbolism and cosmology. The work sheds an unexpected light on the southern periphery of the Lunda political culture, on the nature of political relations in the eastern periphery of Barotseland in the 19th century, the role of gender relations in state formation, the redefinition of African political leadership in the context of the colonial and post-colonial state, and on the impact of cosmopolitan conceptualisations - of a colonial, Christian and academic nature - on popular modes of history in Africa. Above all, this is a book about that fundamental act of scholarship - reading. Specifically, the reading of works of literate ethno-history which form an increasingly important category of sources for modern African historiography. Tears of Rain is largely based upon one such source, the extensive Likota lya Bankoya. In his analysis, van Binsbergen addresses himself to the questions of how the reading of such sources is to be informed by anthropological theory - specifically by structuralism and the analysis ol kinship and modes of production - by oral and documentary sources from the region, and by techniques of close reading and linguistic analysis seldom applied in Africanist social-science discourse. In this sense, the book is a typological and methodological contribution to African history. The book comprises an analytical study of the Likota lya Bankoya manuscript, a critical edition of the Nkoya text and an English translation of it, and substantial reference material.