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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Oral Traditions and the History of Segmentary Societies
Author:Afigbo, A.E.ISNI
Periodical:History in Africa
Geographic terms:Nigeria
textile industry
oral history
Education and Oral Traditions
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3171708
Abstract:The author voices his disapproval of the tendency for many people in the field of reconstructing the history of segmentary societies of precolonial Africa to theorize on methodology instead of actually facing the task of using oral tradition to reconstruct history. To illustrate what he preaches he reconstructs, depending on oral tradition alone, an aspect of Igbo history in the precolonial period: the Igbo traditional textile industry. He investigates the following questions: Did the weavers of Uburu cloth borrow cloth-weaving from the Igala or the Yoruba? If they did, what if the evidence and by what route did the innovation arrive? If in the 1940s the makers of Uburu cloth were able to compete with European textiles to the extent they did, what is meant by G.I. Jones' statement that the Igbo did 'little weaving or dyeing' of cloth? How little is 'little'? The author describes in detail how he investigated these questions according to the methodological prescriptions of the 'masters' of the time. This meant doing extensive library and archival research before embarking on field investigations. - Notes.