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By Florence Bernault

Over the final 30 years, a considerable literature at the historical past of yank and eu prisons has constructed. This assortment is one of the first in English to build a background of prisons in Africa. themes comprise precolonial punishments, dwelling stipulations in prisons and mining camps, ethnic mapping, modern refugee camps, and the political use of felony from the period of the slave alternate to the Rwandan genocide of 1994.

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Mobility took place either by the slow drifting of whole villages, or by fragmentation and dispersion of the households. See Yansina, Paths in the Rainforest. 17. In modern Europe, inquisitions and sentences remained largely in private hands before the penal reform in the eighteenth century. cxtraonlinary affait1' ... During the prison rcfonn. 'rttn)l of pcnitentiaries hefore the lall' nineteenth century. Cf. -G. Petit. Ces Jlt'i"fs <,ilscun:s. Al prison pinale en Fmnce. I i80- I 875 (Paris: Fayard.

100 Colonizers perceived penallabor not as a marginal supplement to the ranks of African "free" wage eamers, but, rather, as a crucial tool for the ongoing creation of colonial Iabor. The importance of African detainees' economic role explains why prisons were generally built near administrative and residential buildings in rural outposts (see Dori, Niger). Everywhere, penallabor and forced Iabor constantly overlapped: Africans who resisted forced Iabor were sentenced to prison; prisoners, in turn, were compelled to work for colonizers.

6. As the collection does not cover the entire continent. the reader should take the book's pro,·isional condusions as working hypotheses. For classic studies on law in Africa, see S. Falk ~1oore. Social Facts and Fabrications: Custonrary Law on Kilimandjaro, 18801980 (Can1bridge: Cambridge University Press. 1986); K. Mann and R. , Law in Colonial Africa (Portsmouth, NJ: Heinemann. 1991 ); and M. Chanock, Law, Custom curd Social Order: The Colonial Experience in Malawi and Zambia (Portsmouth, NJ: Heinemann.

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