“ . . . the contributors to Status and Identity in West Africa have swept away the dust that has obscured the study of the societies of western Sudan and have made it possible to pursue the salutory work of decolonizing the history and sociology of these regions.” —American Ethnologist
“This discussion is among the most significant contributions that African studies can make to the contemporary global dialogue on multicultural issues.” —Choice
“It is ‘must’ reading for anyone who works in African literature today.” —Research in African Literatures
“…an indispensable guide to understanding the producers of art in the Mande world, including the art of the spoken word. The writing and arguments are clear and jargon-free…it will provide a rich harvest of detailed original research…” —African Arts
“[This] book. . . is the most impressive effort to look at these groups in comparative perspective. The essays fit together nicely to challenge notions that came out of colonial scholarship.” —Journal of Interdisciplinary History
“. . . the volume makes a significant contribution to the social history and ongoing processes of cultural pluralism in West Africa.” —Journal of Religion in Africa
The nyamakalaw—blacksmiths, potters, leather-workers, bards, and other artists and specialists among the Mande-speaking peoples of West Africa—play powerful roles in Mande society. This book presents the first full portrait of one of Africa’s most powerful and least understood social groups.