Point of Departure

  • Sheldon Gellar


Much of the current literature on the processes of democratization in Africa fails to incorporate an analysis of precolonial political institutions, cultures, and patterns of behavior and their impact on current efforts to build and consolidate democratic institutions. Studies of the transition to democracy in Africa usually begin with independence or colonial rule. Tocqueville knew better than to start his study of democracy in America with the American Revolution. He went back to the beginning of European colonization of North America. To understand the march toward democracy in France, he did not begin with the period immediately leading up to the French Revolution. He went back seven hundred years in French history.


Oral Tradition French Revolution Major Ethnic Group Electoral College Eleventh Century 
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Chapter Two Point of Departure

  1. 2.
    For discussions of Senegal’s geographical features and the physical environment shaping Senegalese history and culture, see George E. Brooks, Landlords and Strangers: Ecology, Society, and Trade in Western Africa, 1000–1630 (Boulder: Westview Press, 1993);Google Scholar
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  3. Paul Pélissier, Les Paysans du Sénégal: Les Civilisations Agraires du Cayet à la Casamance (SaintYrieux: Imprimérie Fabregue, 1966).Google Scholar
  4. 3.
    Nehcmia Levtzion, Ancient Ghana and Mali (London: Methuen, 1973) andGoogle Scholar
  5. Djibril Tamsir Niane, Le Soudan Occidental au temps des grands empires (XIe-XVIe Siècles) (Paris: Présence Africaine, 1975).Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    On this point, see Pathé Diagne, “Pluralism and Plurality in Africa,” in Dov Ronen (ed.), Democracy and Pluralism in Africa (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc., 1986), pp. 68–69.Google Scholar
  7. 9.
    See Cheikh Anta Diop, L’Afrique Noire précoloniale (Paris: Présence Africaine, 1960).Google Scholar
  8. 11.
    For the history of Tekrur, see Abdourhamane Ba, La Takrut des origines à la conquête par le Mali (Vle-XIII siècles) (Nouakchott: Imprimerie Nouvelle, 2002).Google Scholar
  9. 12.
    Gajaaga was reputed to be what was left of the ancient Ghana Empire. Boubacar Barry, La Sénégambie du XVe au XIXe siècle:Traite négrière, Islam, conquête coloniale (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1988), p. 40.Google Scholar
  10. 13.
    Jean Boulégue, Le Grand Jolof (XIII–XVIe) (Blois: Editions Facades, 1987).Google Scholar
  11. 14.
    For the evolution of the two Serer kingdoms, see Pathé Diagne, Pouvoir traditionnel en Afrique occidentale (Paris: Présence Africaine, 1967), pp. 56–94.Google Scholar
  12. 15.
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  13. 16.
    For details on the revolt of the Lebus, see Mamadou Diouf, Le Kajoor au XIXe siècle: pouvoir ceddo et conquête coloniale (Paris: Karthala, 1990), pp. 96–103.Google Scholar
  14. 19.
    On this point, see Mamadou Diouf, Histoire du Sénégal: Le Modéle islamo-wolof et ses péripheries (Paris: Maisonneuve & Larose, 2001).Google Scholar
  15. 20.
    For an analysis of the emergence of caste in West Africa, see Tal Tamari, Les castes de l’Afrique occidentale:Artisans et musiciens endogames (Nanterre: Société d’ethnologie, 1997).Google Scholar
  16. 21.
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  17. 24.
    For discussion of the system ofWolof values, see Assane Sylla, La philosophie morale des Wolof (Dakar: Sankoré, 1978).Google Scholar
  18. 26.
    For a portrait of the marabouts as social reformers during the precolonial era, see Christian Coulon, Le marabout et le Prince: Islam et Pouvoir au Sénégal (Paris: Editions A. Pedone, 1981), pp. 115–163.Google Scholar
  19. 27.
    For more on this theme, see Martin Klein, Islam and Imperialism in Senegal, Sine Saloum 1847–1914. (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1968).Google Scholar
  20. 28.
    For a classic work of Fouta Toro’s response to Umar Tall, see David Robinson, Chiefs and Clerics: The History of Abdul Bokar Kane and the Fouta Toro (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975).Google Scholar
  21. 29.
    However, the British left more of an impact in what is now Gambia where they established their trading posts and took control when Africa was carved up. For a history of the Gambia and British influence, see John Milner Gray, A History of the Gambia (London: Frank Cass, 1966).Google Scholar

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© Sheldon Gellar 2005

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