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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Of Trees and Earth Shrines: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Settlement Histories in the West African Savanna
Authors:Lentz, CarolaISNI
Sturm, Hans-Jurgen
Year:2001
Periodical:History in Africa
Volume:28
Pages:139-168
Language:English
Geographic term:Burkina Faso
Subjects:Dagari
oral traditions
agroforestry
history
ethnic groups
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3172212
Abstract:The settlement history of south and southwestern Burkina Faso has been shaped by the expansion, over the last two hundred years or more, of Dagara-speaking population groups from the region around Wa, in present-day Ghana, northward. This article examines the methodological problems involved in researching the dynamics of this settlement process. It argues that in a region so strongly shaped by groups of 'winners' and 'losers', oral traditions are bound to be contradictory, and should be supplemented by non-narrative sources, in particular results of vegetation analysis. The article presents models and procedures for analysing 'agricultural parks', understood here as traditional agroforestry systems, from the point of view of vegetation geography. Using the example of the settlement history of Ouessa and Niťgo Districts in Burkina Faso, where research was carried out in 1999, the authors describe the findings of vegetation analysis and oral tradition collection respectively, and indicate questions that would have to remain unanswered in a unidisciplinary approach. Finally, they describe the ways in which biogeographical and historical-anthropological data can illuminate, check, diverge from, and correct each other. Bibliogr., notes, ref.
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