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Ahmadu Bamba  

Fallou Ngom

The mid-19th century was an era when the French colonial administration was consolidating its control over colonies in French West Africa. Having witnessed armed resistance movements from non-Muslim and Muslim leaders in the region, the French administration was suspicious of popular leaders who did not support the colonial agenda. Some were killed, and others were arrested, exiled, or put under house arrest in order to destroy their movements. Ahmadu Bamba (1853–1927) was one of the Muslim leaders the French administration regarded as a threat to colonial rule. Because he did not share the position of local Muslim leaders who allied with the Wolof ruling nobility whom he regarded as unjust, Bamba founded a new Sufi movement that sought to provide the masses with an ethics-centered Islamic education. His conflict with the Muslim leaders and Wolof aristocratic rulers exacerbated his tension with French administrators who saw him as an imminent threat. As a result, Bamba was arrested and exiled in Gabon (1895–1902) and Mauritania (1903–1907) and was kept under house arrest in Ceyeen-Jolof (1907–1912) and Diourbel (1912–1927). The exiles and arrests, which were designed to destroy his movement, did not work as his Murīdiyya order has become one of Senegal’s most culturally, economically, and politically powerful movements, with committed members spread around the world. His legacy endures. He was a prolific writer and has left an impressive corpus of Arabic texts that continue to guide his followers around the world. His senior disciples, who translated his ethos to the broader Wolof audiences using Wolofal or Wolof ʿAjamī (Wolof written with the Arabic script), have also left a rich corpus of primary sources that capture the history, traditions, and doctrine of the Murīdiyya from Murīd perspectives. Unfortunately, these sources remain largely inaccessible to academics.

Article

The Ainu and Japanese Settler Colonialism  

Michael Roellinghoff

The Ainu people are Indigenous to Hokkaido (Japan’s northernmost island in the early 21st century), the Russian-administered island of Sakhalin, and the adjacent Kuril archipelago. The Ainu traditionally refer to these lands as Ainu Mosir (meaning “the land of the people”). In the early 21st century, an increasing number of Ainu refer to Hokkaido itself as Yaun Mosir (roughly “the land of land”). Long neighbors with the Japanese, they historically resided as far south as Honshu and as far north as Kamchatka. As of 2023, most Ainu are concentrated in southern Hokkaido and the Tokyo metropolitan area. During the Tokugawa period (1603–1867), the Matsumae Domain maintained a deeply exploitative, if not outright colonialistic, relationship with Ainu groups across Hokkaido (then known in Japanese as Ezo). Nevertheless, Tokugawa leaders explicitly recognized Ainu territorial sovereignty and political formations. Following the Japanese annexation of Hokkaido in 1869, however, the Westernizing Meiji state (1868–1912) adopted settlercolonial practices in Hokkaido that closely resembled those of the United States, the British Empire, and the Russian Empire. Declaring Ainu territories across Hokkaido terra nullius (empty or ownerless land), the Kaitakushi (the Japanese Colonial Office) and successive Hokkaido-based prefectural governments disregarded Ainu sovereignty entirely and engaged in a zero-sum colonization program, dispossessing the Ainu of their unceded land, waters, and resources. While this led to deadly waves of famine and epidemic disease in Ainu communities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many resisted. This ranged from physical confrontations with colonial agents to large-scale peaceful protests. Amid widespread social Darwinist-inflected narratives of the Ainu as a self-destructively inferior race, in 1899, the Meiji government passed the so-called Hokkaido Former Aborigine Protection Act (Hokkaidō kyūdojin hogo-hō), rendering the Ainu wards of the state. In the 21st century, the legacies of the Protection Act and surrounding racist and colonialist discourse continue to impact the Ainu. This most often takes the form of Japanese disavowals of Ainu existence and the state’s rejection of Ainu calls for self-determination. Nevertheless, many Ainu maintain distinct cultural identities, spiritual traditions, and epistemologies and assert sovereignty on their own unceded territories.

Article

Aminu Kano  

Mohammed Bashir Salau and Oyedele Oluokun

Aminu Kano was born into the family of Mallam Yusufu and Malama Rakaiya of the Sudawa quarters of Kano city in 1920. He obtained Islamic education and attended various local Western schools before serving as a teacher at the Bauchi Provincial Middle School. After leaving Bauchi, he attended the University of London, where he became more politically active. Upon returning to Nigeria from London, Kano served in different capacities, but mainly as a politician, a statesman-parliamentarian, and a cabinet minister. In the context of serving in these capacities, he was primarily committed to attacking the corruption and oppression of the emirate system, fighting for the liberation of women, fighting for Nigeria’s independence, promoting the democratization of Northern Nigeria, and fighting for Nigeria’s unity. By 1980, Kano’s focus on such issues had led to some important victories including the weakening of the emirate system. By this same date, Kano had had many wives even though he never embraced polygamy. In 1983, Kano died of a stroke. However, his ideas and work still have an impact on 21st-century Nigeria. The primary materials for the study of his ideas, work, and legacy include those Kano himself wrote, those written by other individuals, and oral data. Some of the extant literature based partly on such materials have primarily provided biographical details on Kano, while others have considered either his social and political thoughts or his legacy. Despite this, there are still significant gaps that exist in the relevant literature, which provides future research opportunities.

Article

Archaeology of Senegambia  

Sirio Canós-Donnay

The Senegambia is the area located between the rivers Senegal and Gambia, as well as its surrounding regions, including the countries of Senegal, the Gambia, and Guinea-Bissau. The earliest documented references to the archaeology of the Senegambia date from the mid-19th century, in the form of short mentions in colonial reports and generalist scholarly journals. In the 1930s through the 1940s, the creation of research institutions facilitated the gradual professionalization of the discipline; and since independence, the quantity of researchers has both increased and diversified, as they use a range of approaches and period foci. Since the onset of the 21st century, the Stone Age has been a fast-developing area of study, ranging from the first evidence of hominin or human occupation 250 kya, to the development of pottery and animal domestication. Increasing social complexity, as well as technical developments, are a hallmark of the subsequent Iron Age, whose archaeology initially focused on the emergence of kingdoms and towns and has subsequently broadened to encompass also a wider range of societies at the margins of centralized polities. From the 15th century onward, the opening to the Atlantic world, together with the rise of the transatlantic slave trade, brought new dynamics across the region. As a result, much of the archaeology of this period has focused on trade (particularly the impact of the slave trade), new Afro-European settlements and sociopolitical change. Finally, although the archaeology of colonial and postcolonial remains is still incipient, it has received some coverage, particularly through ethno-archaeological studies, although the extent varies from country to country.

Article

A Review of the Effects of Pay Transparency  

Emma Duchini, Stefania Simion, and Arthur Turrell

An increasing number of countries have introduced pay transparency policies with the aim of reducing gender inequality in the labor market. Firms subject to transparency requirements must disclose publicly or to employees’ representatives information on their employees’ pay broken down by gender, or indicators of gender gaps in pay and career outcomes. The argument at the base of these policies is that gender inequality may in part persist because it is hidden. On the one hand, employers rarely keep track of employees’ pay and career progression by gender, and, on the other hand, employees rarely engage in conversations with their colleagues about pay. The lack of information on within-firm disparities by gender may therefore hamper progress toward a more egalitarian labor market. Transparency policies have the potential to improve women’s relative pay and career outcomes for two reasons. First, by increasing the salience of gender gaps in the labor market, they can alter the relative bargaining power of male and female employees vis-à-vis the firm and lead lower-paid individuals to demand higher pay from their employer. Second, together with pressures from employees, the public availability of information on firms’ gender-equality performance may also increase public pressure for firms’ action in this domain. A clear message emerges from the literature analyzing the impact of pay transparency policies on gender inequality: these policies are effective at pushing firms to reduce their gender pay gaps, although this is achieved via a slowdown of men’s wage growth. Related results point to a reduction in labor productivity following the introduction of transparency mandates but no detrimental effect on firms’ profits because this effect is compensated by the reduction in labor costs. Overall, the findings in this literature suggest that transparency policies can reduce the gender pay gap with limited costs for firms but may not be suited to achieve the objective of improving outcomes for lower-paid employees.

Article

Bangladeshis in Italy  

Andrea Priori

The Bangladeshi population in Italy boomed in 1990, spreading from Rome and forming local enclaves shaped by migration chains; it is the second-largest Bangladeshi group in Europe and sees a preponderance of Sunni Muslims, a large majority of working-age men, and poor access of women to employment. Although both Italian institutions and migrant associations promoted a monolithic image of the “Bangladeshi community” as a category of political visibility, Italian Bangladeshis present considerable variety in terms of geographic origin and ideological affiliations and important differences in terms of social origins between endangered middle classes and urban middle classes with steady economic situations. Interaction with the Italian institutions results in further differentiation between “legal” and undocumented migrants, which overlaps, in part, with that between those in northern Italy, where Bangladeshi workers are generally entitled to full rights, and those in Rome and the south, where the informal economy is widespread. The large presence of undocumented working-age men fuels marginality and exploitation, both by natives and co-nationals. Patronage relations between co-nationals are crucial in providing access to emigration, housing, and employment and add to the dynamics of self-organization, especially in the case of secular associations. A peculiar characteristic of Italian Bangladeshis is the tendency to form mononational organizations (both secular and Islamic) that proliferate by virtue of scissions, along with transnationalism and entrepreneurship. In contrast, the new generation tends to move beyond communal introversion and transnationalism, but this is limited to only those with promising careers. Even among young people, extensive areas of marginality exist; this results in the persistence of attitudes typical of the migrant generation and reproduces among those who grew up in Italy the distinction, characteristic of the situation of the migrants, between those who have been successfully incorporated into Italian society and those suffering social exclusion.

Article

Basin Development Paths: Lessons From the Colorado and Nile River Basins  

Kevin Wheeler

Complex societies have developed near rivers since antiquity. As populations have expanded, the need to exploit rivers has grown to supply water for agriculture, build cities, and produce electricity. Three key aspects help to characterize development pathways that societies have taken to expand their footprint in river basins including: (a) the evolution of the information systems used to collect knowledge about a river and make informed decisions regarding how it should be managed, (b) the major infrastructure constructed to manipulate the flows of water, and (c) the institutions that have emerged to decide how water is managed and governed. By reflecting on development pathways in well-documented transboundary river basins, one can extract lessons learned to help guide the future of those basins and the future of other developing basins around the world.

Article

Beyond Formal-Informal Dichotomies  

Alan Smart and Martijn Koster

Debates on informality have been mainly structured along dichotomous formal-informal, regular-irregular, or legal-illegal lines, where government and the law equate to formality. Ethnographic studies, however, have often demonstrated that formality and informality coexist. An increasing number of scholars have emphasized that the formal and the informal are always and everywhere intertwined. Domains that seem very formal contain informal practices and vice versa. We critically discuss five prevalent binary approaches to formality-informality: economic-non-economic, legal-illegal, institutionalized-informal politics, temporal dichotomies, and the division between form and “formlessness.” Countering these approaches, we outline anthropological insights on how formal and informal are better seen not as a dualism (binaries) but as a duality (a spectrum) of modes of interaction and performance, where each is entangled with, and inseparable from, the other and invariably invokes the other mode when one is performed.

Article

Bukharan Trade Networks in Eurasia  

Erika Monahan

Bukharan trade networks functioned as significant conduits to the movement of goods and people throughout Eurasia. Evidence of trade activities of Bukharans in the early modern period extends from the northern shores of Russia, east to China, and south to the Caspian, Iran, and the Indian subcontinent. In the Russian Empire Bukharan merchants became a privileged diaspora community that played a significant role in commercial life of Siberia. In Siberia theyoften maintained commercial and religious ties with their Central Asian communities; they seemed in some cases to established close ties with the Siberian Tatar community as well. Bukharan merchants were not necessarily from the city of Bukhara per se, but rather, probably due to the prestige of Bukhara, the Russian imperial state applied the moniker Bukharan (Bukharetin–singular; Bukhartsy–plural) to merchants that hailed from a variety of Central Asian cities and towns. In Siberia, some Bukharans served the Russian imperial state not only as merchants but also in the service of Russian imperial commercial and diplomatic administration. They served the Russian imperial state in various roles, includingin the customs administration and diplomacy. Commercial and spiritual reasons brought this diaspora community to Siberia. While the Russian state courted Bukharan immigration to Siberia for the economic benefits they could bring, Bukharan immigration to Siberia predated the Russian conquest. Bukharans came as proselytizers to Islam at the behest of Siberian Khan Kuchum, if not earlier. State policy toward them reflected a larger state economic strategy of building and maintaining an expanding empire and the army necessary to the project through activist commercial policies. Bukharans played integral roles in Siberian life yet maintained a distinct Bukharan identity. While their integrated economic life resembled that of Russians enough to elicit strong pressures to rescind their tax advantages, Bukharans defended their rights before the state and before their neighbors with savvy and enjoyed various tax privileges into the early 19th century. Although Bukharans lost market share to the Armenians in Astrakhan and the establishment of direct Russian involvement in theRusso–China trade undermined their role in that trade, Bukharan trade networks continued to be an important part of Eurasian commerce. Bukharans may have increased the share of European wares in their trade portfolios, for example. . Meanwhile, Siberian and transit Bukharans continued to cooperate generations after Siberian Bukharans had been settled in the Russian Empire. In short, Bukharans provided simultaneously adaptive to their new homeland and changing market conditions while, at the same time, maintaining the mercurial distinctness of a mercantile diasporic community. Despite their long-standing roots and presence in the Russian Empire, the imperial state counted them as a distinct population as late as the empire-wide census of 1897. That Bukharans were only subsumed into the category of Tatars by the Soviet state testifies to their enduring presence as a distinct group in the Russian Empire.

Article

Circuit Model of Quantum Computation  

James Wootton

Quantum circuits are an abstract framework to represent quantum dynamics. They are used to formally describe and reason about processes within quantum information technology. They are primarily used in quantum computation, quantum communication, and quantum cryptography—for which they provide a machine code–level description of quantum algorithms and protocols. The quantum circuit model is an abstract representation of these technologies based on the use of quantum circuits, with which algorithms and protocols can be concretely developed and studied. Quantum circuits are typically based on the concept of qubits: two-level quantum systems that serve as a fundamental unit of quantum hardware. In their simplest form, circuits take a set of qubits initialized in a simple known state, apply a set of discrete single- and two-qubit evolutions known as “gates,” and then finally measure all qubits. Any quantum computation can be expressed in this form through a suitable choice of gates, in a quantum analogy of the Boolean circuit model of conventional digital computation. More complex versions of quantum circuits can include features such as qudits, which are higher level quantum systems, as well as the ability to reset and measure qubits or qudits throughout the circuit. However, even the simplest form of the model can be used to emulate such behavior, making it fully sufficient to describe quantum information technology. It is possible to use the quantum circuit model to emulate other models of quantum computing, such as the adiabatic and measurement-based models, which formalize quantum algorithms in a very different way. As well as being a theoretical model to reason about quantum information technology, quantum circuits can also provide a blueprint for quantum hardware development. Corresponding hardware is based on the concept of building physical systems that can be controlled in the way required for qubits or qudits, including applying gates on them in sequence and performing measurements.