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Finding the Right Word. Languages of Litigation in Shambaa Native Courts in Tanganyika, c.1925-1960

Dates:
  • Mon 26 Jun 2017 10.00 - 12.30
  Add to Calendar 2017-06-26 10:00 2017-06-26 12:30 Europe/Paris Finding the Right Word. Languages of Litigation in Shambaa Native Courts in Tanganyika, c.1925-1960

This Ph.D. thesis deals with court culture in native courts in the Usambara Mountains and their place within the colonial jurisdiction at large. It investigates the nature and intellectual origins of claim-making strategies and practices used by ordinary litigants in lawsuits at a time of rapid social change in late-colonial Tanganyika. The thesis is based on court records and related sources as a window into an intellectual history from below , thus demonstrating how the art of wording and narrating shaped litigation in Shambaai, the local name for the Usambara Mountains. By uncovering and examining different languages of litigation used by litigants, understood broadly not only as linguistic but also social repertoires, the thesis demonstrates that, contrary to common perception, the native courts were not confined at all to the realm of custom. Although the Governor of Indirect Rule , Donald Cameron, severed the native courts from the colonial judiciary, references to international languages and discourse apart from local custom did find their way even into seemingly apolitical cases such as land and inheritance disputes. As African actors made use of petitioning on an international stage and appropriated the powerful slavery discourse or rights talk in the native courts, they succeeded even in cases against powerful court-holders. Many of the cases give insight into generational and gender conflicts at a time of rapid social change as they revolve around access to land or challenges of the leadership culture. Among the languages at play in native courts were the slavery discourse, the language of human rights, the Cold War discourse, corruption talk and local idioms of healing.

Sala del Camino - Villa Salviati- Castle DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala del Camino - Villa Salviati- Castle

This Ph.D. thesis deals with court culture in native courts in the Usambara Mountains and their place within the colonial jurisdiction at large. It investigates the nature and intellectual origins of claim-making strategies and practices used by ordinary litigants in lawsuits at a time of rapid social change in late-colonial Tanganyika. The thesis is based on court records and related sources as a window into an intellectual history from below , thus demonstrating how the art of wording and narrating shaped litigation in Shambaai, the local name for the Usambara Mountains. By uncovering and examining different languages of litigation used by litigants, understood broadly not only as linguistic but also social repertoires, the thesis demonstrates that, contrary to common perception, the native courts were not confined at all to the realm of custom. Although the Governor of Indirect Rule , Donald Cameron, severed the native courts from the colonial judiciary, references to international languages and discourse apart from local custom did find their way even into seemingly apolitical cases such as land and inheritance disputes. As African actors made use of petitioning on an international stage and appropriated the powerful slavery discourse or rights talk in the native courts, they succeeded even in cases against powerful court-holders. Many of the cases give insight into generational and gender conflicts at a time of rapid social change as they revolve around access to land or challenges of the leadership culture. Among the languages at play in native courts were the slavery discourse, the language of human rights, the Cold War discourse, corruption talk and local idioms of healing.


Location:
Sala del Camino - Villa Salviati- Castle

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Thesis defence

Examiner:
Federico Romero (EUI - HEC)
Prof. Andreas Eckert (Humboldt Universität, Berlin)
Dr. Emma Hunter (University of Edinburgh)

Defendant:
Stephanie Martina Lämmert (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)

Contact:
Miriam Felicia Curci - Send a mail

Supervisor:
Corinna Ruth Unger

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