Speaking with Vampires: Rumor and History in Colonial Africa

Speaking with Vampires Rumor and History in Colonial Africa During the colonial period Africans told each other terrifying rumors that Africans who worked for white colonists captured unwary residents and took their blood In colonial Tanganyika for example

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  • Title: Speaking with Vampires: Rumor and History in Colonial Africa
  • Author: Luise White
  • ISBN: 9780520217041
  • Page: 255
  • Format: Paperback
  • During the colonial period, Africans told each other terrifying rumors that Africans who worked for white colonists captured unwary residents and took their blood In colonial Tanganyika, for example, Africans were said to be captured by these agents of colonialism and hung upside down, their throats cut so their blood drained into huge buckets In Kampala, the police wereDuring the colonial period, Africans told each other terrifying rumors that Africans who worked for white colonists captured unwary residents and took their blood In colonial Tanganyika, for example, Africans were said to be captured by these agents of colonialism and hung upside down, their throats cut so their blood drained into huge buckets In Kampala, the police were said to abduct Africans and keep them in pits, where their blood was sucked Luise White presents and interprets vampire stories from East and Central Africa as a way of understanding the world as the storytellers did Using gossip and rumor as historical sources in their own right, she assesses the place of such evidence, oral and written, in historical reconstruction White conducted than 130 interviews for this book and did research in Kenya, Uganda, and Zambia In addition to presenting powerful, vivid stories that Africans told to describe colonial power, the book presents an original epistemological inquiry into the nature of historical truth and memory, and into their relationship to the writing of history.

    One thought on “Speaking with Vampires: Rumor and History in Colonial Africa”

    1. Luise White takes on the herculean task of legitimizing oral tradition and record as cultural and social history, but not from the standard European schema of colonial extraction. She utilizes the rubric of African vampire stories to contextualize the ways in which rumor articulates shared experience in colonial Africa. For White, these stories are not folklore, but social records she wishes to substantiate into a historical frame by taking them, “at face value, as everyday descriptions of ext [...]

    2. While this book contains a number of accounts and stories, it feels too much like the author's entire purpose was to disprove the vampire happenings and relate everything to slights and effects of colonialism. Requires a deeper reading to see if my feelings are correct or misplaced.

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