The University of Wisconsin Press

Sociology / African Studies / History


African Population and Capitalism
Historical Perspectives
Second Edition
Dennis D. Cordell and Joel W. Gregory
New Foreword by Samir Amin, and new editor's note

"An admirable synthesis of case studies and theory, [it] takes issue with established African demographic theory, emphasizing that demography is an historical process, a permanent and varied adaptation to social and economic change.... This book represents a new step in our knowledge."
—Catharine Coquery-Vidrovitch, Cahiers d'études africaines

This is the first paperback edition of Cordell and Gregory's classic collection of case studies on African historical demography. The contributors cover twenty African societies representing all the major regions of sub-Saharan Africa, examining not only the effects of slavery, colonialism, and capitalism on each, but also the resistance and resilience of indigenous African institutions and individuals.

"A powerful addition to the literature.... With the publication of this book no one can claim that only the present (post-1960) can be studied in Africa. Likewise no one can claim that colonialism was a demographically benign process which reduced mortality... and no one can be excused for failing to understand the underlying effect of long term trends in labour migration on development, notably that of southern Africa."—Ian Pool, Review of African Political Economy

"At several points [this collection] touches on the most important problem in modern African history... it is important because it is the first collective attack on what might be called the natalist interpretation of African history."—John Iliffe, Journal of African History

Dennis D. Cordell is associate professor of history at Southern Methodist University and adjunct professor of demography at the Université de Montréal. Joel W. Gregory (1944–1988) was professor of demography at the Université de Montréal.


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This book is tan with a brown and white illustration of an African family

March 1994
LC: 93-039164 HB
304 pp.   5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Cloth edition:
ISBN-10: 0-299-14270-1
ISBN-13: 978-0-299-14270-4
Paper edition:
ISBN-10: 0-299-14274-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-299-14274-2

Both the cloth and the paper edition are out of print.

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Updated June 29, 2010

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