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In the 1920s and 1930s, colonial officials in Ghana's Northern Territories formulated the first development plans for this hinterland region. Administrators recast local roads and bridges as instruments of agricultural production and began to pursue small-scale resettlement efforts. In the absence of colonial funding, officials layered the requirements of development onto existing forced labor policies that took northerners to the cocoa- and gold-producing South. Using records from neighboring districts in the Northern Province, this article asks how demands for labor helped define the practice, experience, and limits of colonial authority. Intraregional mobility became a particular concern of officials as northerners began to “vote with their feet” to avoid forced labor. This article examines knotty cases in which questions of migration drew officials into local struggles to attract followers and manage the burdens of an extractive state. Northerners forced colonial officials to treat labor not just as something that could be extracted from bodies, but also as a political act involving subjects, chiefs, and officials. This article concludes in the early 1930s, when signers of the ILO's Forced Labour Convention formalized exceptions for labor that was demanded in the “direct interest of the community” or constituted “minor communal services.” Far from eliminating state claims to labor, these initiatives increasingly enshrined them in emerging practices of development.
This article focuses on the consequences of twentieth-century developmentalism for labor practices in the Nigerien Sahel under French rule and in the postindependence period. It examines labor regime transformations at the desert's edge; the ways in which state-led developmentalism influenced labor relations; and gender disparities in the history of emancipation from slavery. Following the abolition of forced labor in 1946, the rhetoric of human investment was used to promote the “voluntary” participation of workers in colonial development initiatives. This continued under Niger's independent governments. Seyni Kountché’s dictatorship relabeled Niger “Development Society” and mobilized Nigeriens’ “voluntary” work in development projects. Concurrently, drought in the Sahel attracted unprecedented levels of international funding. In the Ader region this led to the establishment of a major antidesertification project that paid local labor on a food-for-work basis. Since most men migrated seasonally to West African cities, the majority of workers in the project's worksites were women who welcomed “project work” to avoid destitution. In the name of development, it continued to be possible to mobilize workers without remuneration beyond the cost of a meal.
This article introduces an Africa-focused special issue showing that the rise of development in its modern form coincided with the demise of the political legitimacy of forced labor. It argues that by mobilizing the idea of development, both colonial and independent African governments were able to continue recruiting unpaid (or underpaid) labor—relabeled as “voluntary participation,” “self-help,” or “human investment” —after the passing of the ILO’s Forced Labor Convention. This introduction consists of two parts: the first section summarizes the main findings of the contributions to the special issue. The second part advances preliminary considerations on the implications of these findings for our assessment of international development “aid.” The conclusion advocates that research on planned development focus not on developers-beneficiaries, but rather on employers-employees. Doing so opens up a renewed research agenda on the consequences of “aid” both for development workers (those formally employed by one of the many development institutions) and for so-called beneficiaries (those whose participation in development is represented as conducive to their own good).
This article examines the history of both coerced and exploitative labor in Zanzibar between 1909 and 1970 and demonstrates that these terms were used alongside one another drawing on the same pool of laborers, most of whom were descended from slaves. Not only did these forms of labor continue to marginalize the descendants of ex-slaves, but often it was difficult for the laborers to distinguish between the forms of labor that were coerced and voluntary since both were usually couched in the language of government directives for local benefit. Laborers forced to grow food during World War II could eat that food to survive, just as laborers who voluntarily built a school were possibly able to send their children there (although in reality the poorest children usually had to work with their families). Both brought local benefit, and both were seen locally as required work, but only one was defined by international policy as “forced” labor.
This article deals with one of the many neglected chapters of the global history of the Knights of Labor: the events that led the Knights to participate in one of the great international events of the age, the Paris Exposition of 1889, and their attempts to found their assemblies, as they called their branches, on French soil. Drawing on voluminous correspondence between the leaders of the Knights of Labor and their enthusiasts in France, and on the Order's own journal and the proceedings of its conventions, this article analyzes the reasons why the Knights failed to capitalize on their participation in the Exposition, illustrates many of the failings of leadership and organization that afflicted the Order both at home and abroad, and demonstrates some of the problems and potential solutions that faced French labor activists at the end of the nineteenth century.
By the mid-1970s, Jerry Rubin—icon of American radicalism and cofounder of the Yippies, who campaigned in 1968 to elect a pig as president of the United States and appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee dressed in an eighteenth-century Revolutionary War uniform—had transformed himself from protester to successful businessman. He launched a new career on Wall Street as a stockbroker, became known for his promotion of “networking,” bringing together yuppies at parties in Manhattan, and was an early investor in Apple Computer. For a long time, both in public memory and in many historical accounts, Rubin's conversion embodied the path of an entire generation of leftists who hastily shifted from the ideological craze of 1968–1970 to the disillusionment of the so-called “me decade.”
The arrival of Belgian rule in the late nineteenth century initiated significant changes in the labor history of Tanganyika, a province in the southeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), as well the discursive regimes used to legitimize these transformations. After the colonial conquests, unfree labor was justified by paternalistic rather than mythical discourses. Although unfree labor was less common in the postcolonial period, the state forced farmers to sell crops at low prices and build roads for no remuneration. In the Cold War context, the language and practice of developmentalism mediated the coercive practices of the independent Congolese state (known as Zaïre, 1971–1997). The floundering Zaïrian government expanded its presence in Tanganyika due to its partnership with USAID. USAID's rhetoric and practice was influenced by a “bottom up” approach to agricultural production, but the cuts to its funding in the 1980s meant it struggled to soften Mobutu's coercive administration.
This article explores the evolution of a developmentalist discourse for colonial Somalia and the attempts of the colonial government to present agricultural plans and labor policies as efforts to bring about social and economic development for colonial subjects and profit for colonial investors. In the long term, these efforts provided both a justification and a scope for the colonial venture. Fostering intensive farming and commercial agriculture, development planning institutionalized forced labor, disrupted the local production of foodstuff, and made the colony dependent on foreign imports.
In the nineteenth and early twentieth century, Liberia was in the unusual position of being a colony with no metropole. Without military or financial support, the settlers’ control over their territory remained weak. Surrounding European empires preyed on this weakness, and Americo-Liberian rule was often at risk from coalitions of European forces and indigenous African resistance. From the early twentieth century, the political elite took on the concept of “development” as a central part of government policy in an attempt to gain political and economic control of the hinterland areas and stave off European incursions. This policy involved the extension and reinforcement of labor policies and practices that had developed through the nineteenth century as means to incorporate settlers and indigenous people into Liberian society. When these plans failed, huge swathes of territory were turned over to foreign commercial interests in an attempt to bolster Liberian claims to sovereignty. And after the Second World War, new policies of “community development” introduced by international agencies again tried to solve Liberia's “land and labor” problem through resettlement. At each stage developmentalist rationales were deployed in order to facilitate greater government control over the Liberian interior territory.
This article examines the history of development and forced labor in Barue, a rural district in central Mozambique, in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, Barue was designated as a labor reserve, whose economic role was to send forced workers into migrant labor elsewhere. This was slated to change in the early 1960s, with the rise of a new developmental discourse in the Portuguese empire. This discourse promised to transform the economic model of Barue and other rural districts, by outlawing forced labor, minimizing migrant labor, and promoting rural agriculture. The Portuguese government, however, lacked the resources and the commitment necessary to actually change Barue's economy. Instead of development transforming Barue's economic model, the economic model transformed development, which was redefined as a series of modest social and economic improvements which neither changed Barue's economy nor reduced its dependence upon migrant labor. Nonetheless, while this narrower definition of “development” did not fulfill the transformative promise of its discursive progenitor, it was compatible with development's broader objective of defending and justifying the Portuguese empire against the threat of decolonization. The ultimate goal of safeguarding Portuguese rule made it possible to reconcile a discourse founded on change with a reality marked by continuity.
Education is notoriously difficult to identify archaeologically, but crucial for understanding the inner workings of any society. Strikingly, in Mesoamerican archaeology, more seems to be known about the transmission of crafting skills than about practices of statecraft. Elsewhere in the ancient world, much evidence speaks to various social and institutional contexts in which specialized knowledge of histories, literacies, civics, and sciences was generated and taught as vital to state-making projects. Yet these same contexts among the Classic Period Maya (ad 200–900) remain poorly understood and under-theorized. Pulling from comparative research alongside recent work at the site of Xultun, Guatemala, this article explores how educational systems may have worked in Classic-era Maya polities—assessing evidence for educational loci, the different forms that education might assume, and the varied curricula that likely existed across different cities and particular demographics. Through this discussion, I seek to shed some light on the actors, gendered exclusions and diverse arrangements of pedagogy in Maya society, and grant further insight into how specialized bodies of knowledge (transmitted within formal educational institutions) were built into the very fabric of the Classic Maya states of which they were part.
This article presents an in-depth analysis of an important mural painting discovered within Structure 10K2 of the Los Sabios Group at the Classic Maya site of Xultun, Guatemala. We first discuss the composition of the mural scene and its central protagonist, a Late Classic period (a.d. 550–900) ruler of Xultun named Yax We'nel Chan K'inich, suggesting that it presents a ritual performance associated with an ancient New Year ceremony. Several attendant figures in the mural are labeled as members of a specialist order or category called Taaj, “obsidian,” and are marked by an unusual shared appearance. This “obsidian order” exhibits internal hierarchical ranking and is attested at other Classic Maya centers. In addition to discussing the overall content of the Xultun mural scene, we conduct a focused inquiry into these various Taaj individuals by presenting associated archaeological evidence and considering related epigraphic data. Through this analysis of the Taaj, we shed light on a previously unknown aspect of Maya courtly life and organization that is relevant to models of sovereignty, governance, and ritual performance in the Classic Maya world.
Maya murals depicting scenes of courtly life are well known from sites such as Bonampak; far less common are scenes depicting life outside the royal sphere. Recent excavations at Xultun in Guatemala have revealed well-preserved murals in a domestic context that offer a fresh perpective on life in the Maya court, that of the priests, scribes and artists who attended the royal governor. Here, the authors decode the images to reveal the lives and activities of those who planned, performed and recorded official events in Classic-period Xultun. One of only two well-preserved examples of eastern Maya lowland wall painting from the Late Classic period, this rare display of master craftsmanship outside of the royal court sheds new light on the lives of those who produced it.
Controlled amounts of colloidal Au nanoparticles (NPs), electrochemically pre-synthesized, were directly deposited on MWCNTs sensor devices by electrophoresis. Pristine and Au-functionalized MWCNT networked films were tested as active layers in resistive gas sensors for detection of pollutant gases. Au-modified CNT-chemiresistor demonstrated higher sensitivity to NO2 detecting up to sub-ppm level compared to pristine one. The investigation of the cross-sensitivity towards other pollutant gases revealed the decrease of the sensitivity to NO2 with the increase of Au content, and, on the other side, the increase of that to H2S; therefore the fine tune of the metal loading on CNTs has allowed to control not only the gas sensitivity but also the selectivity towards a specific gaseous analyte. Finally, the sensing properties of Au-decorated CNT sensor seem to be promising in environmental and automotive gas sensing applications, based on low power consumption and moderate operating temperature.
Visual masking assesses visual perception and attention; it occurs when a visual stimulus (mask) interferes with the perception of a stimulus that the participant is trying to identify (target). A backward masking study (target presented before mask) was performed on 662 children without disabilities (338 females), aged between 6 and 17 years, in order to evaluate if performance varies with age. In the masking procedure 10 letters were presented through a tachistoscope as target stimuli. Fragments of letters oriented at random (‘noise’) represented the mask. A slight improvement of visual performance from the beginning of school age to 9–12 years of age was found. This paper gives normative data for the most important parameters which can be used as a standardized reference for the procedure employed. We also studied 113 children with epilepsy (56 females), aged between 5 and 19 years, who attended a mainstream school and had been seizure free for at least 2 years. Children were tested just before starting antiepileptic drug withdrawal and re-tested 1 year later; they were drug free for 3 months before the second test. These children showed, during and after treatment, only slightly worse results when compared with healthy children of the same age; after therapy withdrawal, their visual performance slightly improved but this was not statistically significant.