Farmers and the State in Colonial Kano

Farmers and the State in Colonial Kano

Land Tenure and the Legal Imagination
Steven Pierce
Distribution: World
Publication date: 10/26/2005
ISBN: 978-0-253-11154-8
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In Farmers and the State in Colonial Kano, Steven Pierce examines issues surrounding the colonial state and the distribution of state power in northern Nigeria. Here, Pierce deconstructs the colonial state and offers a unique reading of land tenure that challenges earlier views of the role of indirect rule. According to Pierce, land tenure was the means the colonial government used to rule the local population and extract taxes from them, but it was also a political logic with a fundamental flaw and a Western bias. In Pierce’s view, colonial representations of land tenure claimed to reflect precolonial systems of rule, but instead, fundamentally misrepresented farmers’ experience. He maintains that this misrepresentation created a paradox at the core of the colonial state which persists into the present and helps to explain contemporary problems in African states. In this sweeping and eloquent account of African history, readers will find an extended genealogy of land law and taxation as well as rich material on the power of indigenous knowledge and the persistence of colonial systems of rule.

Author Bio

Steven Pierce is Assistant Professor of History at Tulane University.

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Table of Contents

Note on Orthography
Part 1. Looking for Land Tenure
1. Land and Government in Kano
2. Gandu and the Semantic Imagination
3. Inventing Land Tenure
Part 2. Looking Like a State
4. Succession and Secrecy
5. Litigation and the Public
6. Representation through Taxation
7. The Governing Fetish