This useful book opens important windows into the history of gender, local production and colonialism in West Africa. Byfield focuses on the history of female indigo - or adire - dyers in Abeokuta to explore the relationship between these dyers and structures of colonialism. ... Byfield shows how one local industry was tied to other broader economic transformations brought by colonial rule. Contrary to the vast literature on 'de-industrialization', Byfield convincingly argues that, in the case of the indigo dyeing industry at least, integration into a global economy actually promoted development rather than wiping out local craft producers. ...This is thoughtful and provocative history. Byfield has provided an important and welcome contribution to the social history of colonialism and gender in Nigeria that is creatively and exhaustively researched. Byfield's real contribution is to locate and trace the history of female dyers within the broader events and changes ushered in by colonial rule. ...Hopefully, Byfield's work will stimulate further studies of the gendered dynamics of colonialism and the dynamics of regional and local economies within Africa during the colonial period. - Sean Stilwell in JOURNAL OF AFRICAN HISTORY
About the Author
JUDITH BYFIELD is associate professor of history at Dartmouth College where she teaches courses in African history.
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