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West Africa and the Rise of Asante:
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  1. West Africa and the Rise of Asante: Rivers of (Black) Gold and the Proto-globalization of Labor Paper Presented at the 2011 ASA Annual Meeting, Jon D. Carlson

  2. Some Puzzles re: World System • 1. System Expansion/Nature of Incorporation  External Arena & Role of the Information Network (“Nested Networks”)  Import of Myth and ‘Zone of Ignorance’ (Maps) • 2. Late Consideration of Incorporation (“In”)  Overlook Early Changes/Social Alterations • 3. Early Alterations = Homologues for Globalization (“Proto-globalization”)  Identity, Disease, Production, Labor

  3. West Africa & The Asante • Why Asante? • 1. Little early direct contact w/Europe (1471) • 2. Indirect linkages: trans-Saharan salt-gold • (“About face” after 1471, creates Asante Kingdom) • 3. Nature of the region spreads out ‘membrane’ of contact (interior isolated by forest, benign isolation) • 4. Impressive level of documentation, study – several hundred years of documentation, multiple states • 5. Nature of the economic exchange: • A. Gold – role of bullion, linkages • B. Labor – provided, transported, consumed • C. Role of External Agents & ability to “negotiate externality” (or actively compete w/state actors)

  4. Labor (Slavery) and the World Economy • Labor underappreciated, oft left out • Historically & Contemporarily • West Africa & Asante exposes this • Labor is a lever to use… • State-centric nature of WS conceptualization of favorable/unfavorable order •  Address 2 ways: • A. Non-state actors as functioning units • B. External actors that are essentially ‘states’ • Thus, Asante & British drive against in 19th Century

  5. Systemic Imperial Rivalry for Africa( ca. 1680)

  6. “Socioeconomic Revolution” • Multiple fronts of change, because of linkages • 1. Agriculture (utensils, production, org., crops) • 2. Social Organization (matriclan & lineage) • 3. Economic Orientation (about face, formal gold extraction) • 4. Warfare & Feudal African State Rivalry • 5. Political Rise of Asante (1700-1750) • 6. Eventual Rivalry w/European Powers (1800-1896)

  7. D’Anville (1729)

  8. Asante Incorporation • I. Process: Grooming Incorporation Peripheralization • (Overlays I-----------------------I I----------------------------------I I---------------------------------I • transitions • in temporal • condition) • II. State of {Zone of----> {External Arena}--->{Nominal ------> {Effective ----->{Periphery}---> • Being: Ignorance} Incorp.} Incorp.} • III. Sign. Contact (GoldTrade) 1701-Asante • Events (SlaveTrade) 1713 1807 • British Asiento Br. Abolition 1471 {1650 – Anglo-Dutch Rivalry – 1750} {Anglo-Asante Wars – 1896}

  9. So What? • 1. Socio-economic change immediate, often upon contact • 2. Largely underappreciated in literature • 3. Case of Asante – important to examine linkages of labor in world economy • 4. Labor is mobile,and has been • 5. Historic parallels to globalization • 6. Important role information & myth plays in the expansion of WS • 7. Cool Maps.