anthro102a - exam 3

anthro102a - exam 3 - Denielle Barcelona ANTHRO 102A...

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Denielle Barcelona ANTHRO 102A December 10, 2010 Urbanization and State Formation in African Civilizations : When it comes to talking about the ancient African civilizations, both Africans and those who spent their lives studying Africa are aware of how complex and diverse the African precolonial societies really were. However, some still surmise that complex societies failed to develop there, and if there are some that did, they were merely secondary states. 1 In the book African Civilizations: An Archaeological Perspective , author Graham Connah endeavors to disprove them and asserts that the tropical Africans established (non-secondary) complex states on their own and not because of external factors, that “neither urbanization nor the idea of state was grafted onto Africa from modern Europe, as some might think.” 2 Connah aims to address the question of how and why cities and states emerged in Africa. In his case studies of the Ethiopian highlands, Zimbabwe, etc., he concludes that urbanization did not originate as a result of the conventional tell-tale factors such as external trade, immigration, foreign occupation, etc. Instead, he turns to his “productive land hypothesis” and to extensive internal trade as originators, rather than merely as intensifiers, of state formation and urbanization in the African civilizations. The 1 1 Wenke, Robert. Patterns in Prehistory . 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1984. pg. 343. 2 Connah, Graham. African Civilizations: An Archaeological Perspective . 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1987. pg. 5.
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productive land hypothesis states that “elite power was first acquired by the control of land, not of any land but of land with an unusually high production potential.” 3 This theory, he says, cannot stand on its own as its meant to be complementary to the internal trade hypothesis. Moreover, Connah asserts that this gave rise to social complexity in Africa. He seems to base these two hypotheses on Jonathan Haas who claims that “it is control of resources that gives rulers their power.” 4 Control of significant
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anthro102a - exam 3 - Denielle Barcelona ANTHRO 102A...

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