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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Making history in Mursiland
Author:Turton, DavidISNI
Year:2007
Periodical:Journal of Ethiopian Studies (ISSN 0304-2243)
Volume:40
Issue:1-2
Pages:203-218
Language:English
Geographic term:Ethiopia
Subjects:historiography
rural-rural migration
oral history
oratory
Mursi
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/41988227
Abstract:The Mursi live in the Lower Omo Valley (Ethiopia), c. 100 km north of Lake Turkana. They number around 10,000 and depend on three main subsistence activities: flood-retreat cultivation, shifting cultivation and cattle herding. They are the relatively recent product of a series of short-distance migrations, all of which were motivated by a search for more favourable environmental conditions. The author describes the speech-making activities of Mursi orators, the history makers 'par excellence' of Mursiland. They not only connect the present to the past by telling and retelling stories about the past in the light of current events, but they 'edit' those events into a coherent and memorable narrative which becomes the raw material of tomorrow's history making. Furthermore, the author examines the migration history of the Mursi to show that history making, like the colonization of other peoples, is an exercise of power. Finally, the author describes how, during the last forty years or so, the Mursi have found it increasingly difficult to avoid, or keep at bay, the structures of State control. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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