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Black Rice: The African Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas. By Judith A. Carney. Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 2001. Pp. xiv, 240. $37.95

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  • Coclanis, Peter A.
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    Abstract

    The subtitle of this important book captures the author s key theme very well: the African origins of rice cultivation in the Americas. According to Carney, for a variety of reasons racism, most notably many contemporary observers and most scholars over the centuries have overlooked or willfully denied the fact that the origins of rice production in the Americas lay in Africa rather than in Asia or Europe. The unsurprising concomitant of this argument about origins is that Africans and African Americans were primarily responsible both for the introduction of rice seed to the Americas and for the transfer and diffusion of an indigenous knowledge system pertaining to the cultivation and processing of the cereal (p. 2). This knowledge system, once expropriated from Africans and African Americans and appropriated by Europeans and Euro-Americans, created the basis for great wealth in parts of the New World, particularly in South Carolina and Georgia. The larger implication of this argument hardly surprising in light of the foregoing is that until recently Western scholars, in promoting the view that Africans and African Americans contributed nothing to risiculture in the New World except their labor, have supported and legitimized the imperial project through an egregious case of cultural dispossession and expropriation.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal The Journal of Economic History.

    Volume (Year): 62 (2002)
    Issue (Month): 01 (March)
    Pages: 247-248

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    Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:62:y:2002:i:01:p:247-248_00

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