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The African Husbandman
New introduction by Helen Tilley
Reihe: Classics in African Anthropology
2004, 568 S., 24.90 EUR, 24.90 CHF, br., ISBN 3-8258-3087-X
"The African Husbandman helped a generation of scholars and officials to appreciate that Africans' agricultural practices were both more complex and more malleable than was often thought. Allan's work also pioneered research methods that wedded ethnographic and ecological fieldwork in ways that demonstrated the inextricable links between social arrangements, environmental conditions, and land use patterns. If certain facets of Allan's analysis have now come under scrutiny, his general tenet that to improve agricultural prospects in Africa one first has to understand it from the cultivators' point of view has only been strengthened with time. As long as there are individuals struggling to make sense of African agricultural productivity, The African Husbandman will remain a classic."
William Allan took up his first professional post as a research officer in the Agriculture Department of Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) in 1928 when he was 24. He spent the next twenty years living and working in the region, leaving only in 1948 when he was appointed Director of Agriculture in Mauritius (1948 - 54) and then Cyprus (1954 - 58). The African Husbandman marks the culmination of Allan's career studying the continent and its cultivators.