The story of Africa is the story of human movements. No phase of Africa history is complete or can be adequately understood without reference migration, a central component in the evolution and growth of many African societies. The drafts of the chapters in this volume were originally presented at a conference held at the University of Texas at Austin (Marc 24–26, 2006), on the subject of “Movements, Migrations, and Displacement in Africa.” This conference provided a forum for the exchange of ideas an experience on the phenomenon of movements, migrations, and displacements in Africa, and the understanding of its changing forms and dynamics. The origin of the volume shapes its outcome, especially in terms of its geographical coverage and interdisciplinary range, which offer an accessible scholarly analysis of population movement in the local, regional, and inter-regional setting.
The chapters are based on original research and recent thinking on migrations in Africa and their changing forms and dynamics since the pre-colonial period. The various topics addressed include the causes and co sequences of migration, population movements, displacements, migration experiences, settlement patterns and strategies, labor mobility, immigrant societies, identity, and culture contact, as well as conceptual and methodological aspects of research on migration.
The contributors represent scholars from diverse fields with extensive teaching and research experience, making use of different sources—oral archaeological, written, and ethnographic—and focusing on various issues and regions. Thus, the book provides a broad but insightful overview of the subject of migrations and the varying impact of slavery, commerce, gender religion, colonialism, poverty, and development.