The University of Wisconsin Press


African Studies / History / Environment / Anthropology



Nachituti’s Gift
Economy, Society, and Environment in Central Africa
David Gordon

Africa and the Diaspora: History, Politics, Culture
Thomas Spear, David Henige, and Michael Schatzberg, Series Editors


Honorable Mention, Melville J. Herskovits Award, African Studies Association, 2007

“An original work of sociopolitical and environmental history and development studies.”
—Jan Vansina, author of Antecedents to Modern Rwanda: The Nyiginya Kingdom

Nachituti’s Gift challenges conventional theories of economic development with a compelling comparative case study of inland fisheries in Zambia and Congo from pre- to postcolonial times. Neoclassical development models conjure a simple, abstract progression from wealth held in people to money or commodities; instead, Gordon argues, primary social networks and oral charters like “Nachituti’s Gift” remained decisive long after the rise of intensive trade and market activities. Interweaving oral traditions, songs, and interviews as well as extensive archival research, Gordon’s lively tale is at once a subtle analysis of economic and social transformations, an insightful exercise in environmental history, and a revealing study of comparative politics.

“A sophisticated, accessible, and graceful analysis of economic and social transformations from the pre- to the post-colonial era in Zambia and Congo. Makes a significant contribution to African, economic, environmental, colonial, and post-colonial history.”—Thomas Spear, series editor and author of Mountain Farmers: Moral Economies of Land and Agricultural Development in Arusha and Meru

David Gordon is assistant professor of history at Bowdoin College.

To schedule an interview with the author or to request a review copy of the book, contact our publicity manager, phone: (608) 263-0734, email: publicity@uwpress.wisc.edu

cover of Gordon's book shows a small boat covered in fishing nets, on a sparse beach under a merciless African sun

December 2005
LC: 2005008261 DT
304 pp.   6 x 9   14 b/w photos
4 maps, 2 graphs, 2 charts

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ISBN 978-0-299-21360-2
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ISBN 978-0-299-21364-0
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