Deep Roots

Rice Farmers in West Africa and the African Diaspora

by Edda L. Fields-Black

Published by: Indiana University Press

296 Pages, 6.12 x 9.25 in, 20 b&w photos, 5 maps

  • Paperback
  • 9780253016102
  • Published: July 2014


  • eBook
  • 9780253002969
  • Published: October 2008


Mangrove rice farming on West Africa's Rice Coast was the mirror image of tidewater rice plantations worked by enslaved Africans in 18th-century South Carolina and Georgia. This book reconstructs the development of rice-growing technology among the Baga and Nalu of coastal Guinea, beginning more than a millennium before the transatlantic slave trade. It reveals a picture of dynamic pre-colonial coastal societies, quite unlike the static, homogenous pre-modern Africa of previous scholarship. From its examination of inheritance, innovation, and borrowing, Deep Roots fashions a theory of cultural change that encompasses the diversity of communities, cultures, and forms of expression in Africa and the African diaspora.