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Academic & Professional Books  Natural History  Regional Natural History  Natural History of Africa

Between the Sea and the Lagoon An Eco-social History of the Anlo of Southeastern Ghana, c.1850 to Recent Times

By: Emmanuel K Akyeampong
244 pages, B/w photos, tabs
Publisher: James Currey
Between the Sea and the Lagoon
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  • Between the Sea and the Lagoon ISBN: 9780852557778 Paperback Dec 2001 Usually dispatched within 5 days
  • Between the Sea and the Lagoon ISBN: 9780852557761 Hardback Dec 2001 Usually dispatched within 5 days
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About this book Contents Customer reviews Related titles

About this book

This study offers a "social interpretation of environmental process" for the coastal lowlands of southeastern Ghana.


Migration, topography and early settlement in the Keta Lagoon basin; abolition, British influence and smuggling in the Anlo lowlands up to c.1890; commercial prosperity, urbanization and social life in early colonial Keta; unstable ecology - belief, knowledge and the enigma of sea erosion in colonial Keta, 1907-1932; the search for space - land reclamation, migrant fishing, shallot cultivation and illicit liquor distillation in Anlo, c.1930-1957; harbours and dams - economic development and environmental change in the Lower Volta basin, 1957 to present - political ecology, ecological unity and the politics of Ewe ethnicity in contemporary Ghana; living with the sea - society and culture in contemporary Anlo.

Customer Reviews

By: Emmanuel K Akyeampong
244 pages, B/w photos, tabs
Publisher: James Currey
Media reviews
'A thin ribbon of land constitutes the heart of Anlo state and society, poised between the pounding surf on the beaches to one side and the glistening expanse of the Keta Lagoon to the other...Nowhere else in Ghana does the on-going struggle between human settlement and the forces of nature seem so apparent as in the watery landscape of the country's far south-eastern corner. It is the history of this uneasy dialogue between culture and nature that forms the subject of Emmanuel Akyeampong's new book, which sets out to offer a "social interpretation of environmental process" in the Anlo-Ewe region...This learned, accessible study contains many original insights into the historical interaction between the Anlo people and their distinctive regional landscape...the most effective sections of the book are focused on what might be termed "moral economy" (or "moral ecology")...Between the Sea and the Lagoon represents a notable contribution to the growing body of work on the environmental history of Africa.' - John Parker in Journal of African History 'Eco-social history is a relatively new field (ignored by Chambers Dictionary) and could easily be misread as a combination of economic and social history. But this is a more interesting approach, tracing the interconnections between ecology and society in a specific political and cultural context. ...Certainly this will be an important source for students of Ghanaian history, society and culture, and for ecologists everywhere...the publishers are to be congratulated on recognizing the original quality of this work, and on producing it impeccably, right down to the footnotes, which actually appear at the foot of each page - a great convenience for the reader, especially as some contain shrewd comments.' - Helen Kimble in Progress in Development Studies 'This book represents a welcome addition to the growing corpus of studies of ecological history in Africa.' - Robin Law in African Affairs 'Akyeampong (Harvard Univ.) looks in great detail at the Anlo people of coastal Ghana and their fortunes and misfortunes from about 1850 (the start of the colonial period in Ghana) until recent times...Akyeampong describes the Anlo world as being "in a constant state of change," noting that Anlo history "exhibits a mutualism between persons and environment, though this [does] necessarily idealize a 'harmonious' relationship between culture and nature." Subsequent chapters describe the ups and downs of this relationship. Helpful maps, figures and photographs are included, together with a finely meshed index and extensive bibliography. Upper-division undergraduates and above.' - F.P. Conant in Choice 'While one goal of the book is to account for the persistent energy of the Anlo of Keta in later colonial and post-colonial times in light of its nineteenth-century past, there is another aim more germane to maritime history. This is to tell the story of Keta as an official "surf port" and show by what steps a small market village came to produce a thoroughly African fishery. In this aspect the book can be taken as an essay in political ecology...The survival of such a feisty town and its locally-cherished marine deities into the modern era did foster the growth of a promising coastal fishery. Will the lawyerly talents of Keta Anlo soon be seen again in the national arena, lobbying support for those so-far self-financed fishers? The precedents are many.' - George Park, International Journal of Maritime History 'Between the Sea and the Lagoon explains and emphasizes the dynamic and symbiotic relationship between the people and their environment. The author guides the reader through a very revealing and insightful narration of the unique socio-economic environment within which the Anlos find themselves. Notwithstanding the precarious advances by these water bodies, the people of Anlo who originally were farmers have managed to develop and adapt a unique lifestyle to their environment...well researched book...The author has managed to achieve his set objectives by carefully arranging the eco-social developments of the Anlo people into an exciting narration.' - Patrick Dela Cofie in Democracy & Development '...a most welcome addition to the growing literature on the history of Africans' relationships with the environment. ...Akyeampong provides a wonderfully interdisciplinary analysis of an African society's efforts to live with and gain from their natural watery environment. outstanding study that deserves to be read by scholars and non-scholars alike interested in the history of African relations with the aquatic environment of ocean and lagoon.' - Sandra Greene in International Journal of African Historical Studies
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