Review from ROAPE Volume 15 Number 42
African Population/Capitalism: Historic Persp (Cordell/Gregory)


Title:
African Population and Capitalism: Historical Perspectives by Dennis D. Cordell, Joel W. Gregory (eds)
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Vol.15 No.42 (Summer 1988), pp105-107
At an international historical demographic meeting a prestigious European scholar made two assertions which have long rankled with me and which are most satisfyingly contradicted in this book. Outside regions with European-style parish registration (or its equivalent), he argued, it was impossible to carry out methodologically sound historical demographic research. A number of the chapters in this book admirably refute this assertion by not merely confronting standard demographic issues, fertility, motality and migration, but by going beyond classical historical demography to analyse changes as well as describing them. Indeed, chapters on French military planning on Zambia, on Malawi and on French Equatorial Africa (as examples) all use or modify conventional quantitative techniques to do this.