Gold Coast Diasporas

Gold Coast Diasporas : Identity, Culture, and Power

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Although they came from distinct polities and peoples who spoke different languages, slaves from the African Gold Coast were collectively identified by Europeans as "Coromantee" or "Mina." Why these ethnic labels were embraced and how they were utilized by enslaved Africans to develop new group identities is the subject of Walter C. Rucker's absorbing study. Rucker examines the social and political factors that contributed to the creation of New World ethnic identities and assesses the ways displaced Gold Coast Africans used familiar ideas about power as a means of understanding, defining, and resisting oppression. He explains how performing Coromantee and Mina identity involved a common set of concerns and the creation of the ideological weapons necessary to resist the slavocracy. These weapons included obeah powders, charms, and potions; the evolution of "peasant" consciousness and the ennoblement of common people; increasingly aggressive displays of masculinity; and the empowerment of women as leaders, spiritualists, and warriors, all of which marked sharp breaks or reformulations of patterns in their Gold Coast past.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 342 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 25.4mm | 44g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 18 b&w illus.
  • 0253016940
  • 9780253016942

Review quote

[O]ne of the book's greatest strengths is the ways in which Rucker painstakingly traces how ethnic labels were appropriated, recast, and ultimately employed as a means to establish community bonds and resist oppression. . . . Chapters that focus on the creation of the Gold Coast diaspora, religion, and women make for a captivating text that will be of interest to graduate students and specialist readers. Recommended. * Choice * Provocative and well written, Gold Coast Diasporas is a must-read for any scholar interested in African identity, the transatlantic slave trade, and resistance. Africanists and African diaspora specialists need to engage with this book and with the methodological contributions that Rucker presents. His comprehensive approach to African identity and his rigorous analysis have produced a highly recommended study. * American Historical Review *
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About Walter C. Rucker

Walter C. Rucker, Associate Professor of African diaspora and Atlantic history at Rutgers University, is the author of The River Flows On: Black Resistance, Culture, and Identity Formation in Early America.
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Table of contents

IntroductionPart One: Social Life and Death 1. Gold Coast Backgrounds 2. Making the Gold Coast Diaspora 3. Slavery, Ethnogenesis, and Social ResurrectionPart Two: Social Resurrection and Empowerment 4. State, Governance, and War 5. Obeah, Oaths, and Ancestral Spirits6. Women, Regeneration, and PowerPostscript NotesBibliography Index
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