The University of Wisconsin Press

African Studies / History


Peasant Intellectuals
Anthropology and History in Tanzania
Steven Feierman

“This brilliant book shatters our intellectual complacency. By transforming the notion of ‘peasant intellectual’ from an oxymoron into a powerful organizing principle, Feierman renders obsolete the usual ways we approach peasant, politics, and culture.”—Steve J. Stern, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Scholars who study peasant society now realize that peasants are not passive, but quite capable of acting in their own interests. But, do coherent political ideas emerge within peasant society or do peasants act in a world where elites define political issues? Peasant Intellectuals is based on ethnographic research begun in 1966 and includes interviews with hundreds of people from all levels of Tanzanian society. Steven Feierman provides the history of the struggles to define the most basic issues of public political discourse in the Shambaa-speaking region of Tanzania. Feierman also shows that peasant society contains a rich body of alternative sources of political language from which future debates will be shaped.

Steven Feierman
is professor of history at the University of Florida, Gainesville. He is the author of The Shambaa Kingdom and has written extensively on African medicine and healing practices.

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A study of peasant society in Tanzania.

November 1990

LC: 90-050086 DT
352 pp. 6 x 9

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ISBN 978-0-299-12524-0
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