Isaacman, Allen F. (Allen Isaacman, Allen R. Isaacman)
Isaacman, Allen F. (Allen Isaacman, Allen R. Isaacman)
Office—University of Minnesota, Department of History, 614 Social Sciences, 267 19th Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55455. E-mail—[email protected]
Historian, educator, writer, and editor. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, instructor, 1970, assistant professor of history, 1970-72, associate professor, 1972-76, adjunct associate professor of Afro-American studies, 1975-77, professor of history, 1976—, adjunct professor of Afro-American and African studies, 1977—, director of MacArthur Interdisciplinary Program on Global Change, Sustainability and Justice, 1988—, adjunct associate in Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, 1994—, director of Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change, 1998—, Regents professor of history, 2001—. University Eduardo Mondlane, Mozambique, chaired professor of Mozambican history, 1978-80; University of Zimbabwe, senior research fellow, 1997-98. Work-related activities include chair, American Council of Learned Societies and Social Science Research Council Joint Committee on Africa, 1982-87; executive committee member, Center for International Studies, 1985—; Fellowship Committee member, Woodrow Wilson Institute, 1988-1998; Selection Committee member, MacArthur Foundation, Writing and Research Program, 1992-94, 1995.
African Studies Association (member of board of directors, 1975-76, 1985-88), Association of Concerned Africa Scholars (executive secretary, 1980-84), African Studies Association (vice-president and president elect, 2000-01; president, 2001-02).
Melville J. Herskovitz Award for the most distinguished publication on African Studies, 1972, for Mozambique; award for scholarly excellence and contributions to the field of Lusophonic Studies, presented at V Congresso Luso-Afro Brasileiro de Ciencias Sociais, Maputo, Mozambique, 1998. Recipient of University of Minnesota awards, including distinguished teaching award, College of Liberal Arts, 1988; University Alumni Association Teaching Award, Board of Governors, 1987; Scholar of the College of Liberal Arts, 1996-1998. Recipient of numerous fellowships and scholarship awards, including fellowship in comparative tropical history, 1964-1965; NDEA Title VI fellowship, 1966-1968; Foreign Area fellowship, Social Sciences Research Council, 1968-1970; Younger Humanist fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1973-1974; Social Science Research Council fellowship, 1974, 1976; University of Wisconsin Comparative Tropical History Program fellowship, Rockefeller Foundation, 1975; Gulbenkian fellowship, 1977; fellowship for Independent Research, National Endowment of the Humanities, 1984-85; Ford Foundation fellowship, American Council of Learned Societies, 1988; Bush fellowship, 1988-89; Social Science Research Council postdoctoral fellowship, 1991; John Simon Guggenheim fellowship, 1997-1998; American Council of Learned Societies fellowship, 1997-98; Fulbright fellowship, 1997-98; McKnight Humanities Research fellowship, 1999-2002; MacArthur Foundation research and writing grant, 1999-2000; Rockefeller Foundation Visiting Scholar, Bellagio Research Center, 2001. Recipient of numerous grants.
Mozambique: The Africanization of a European Institution; The Zambesi Prazos, 1750-1902, University of Wisconsin Press (Madison, WI), 1972.
(With Barbara Isaacman) The Tradition of Resistance in Mozambique: The Zambesi Valley, 1850-1921, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1976, published as The Tradition of Resistance in Mozambique: Anti-Colonial Activity in the Zambesi Valley, 1850-1921, Heinemann (London, England), 1976.
A Luta Continua: Creating a New Society in Mozambique, Fernand Braudel Center for the Study of Economies (Binghamton, NY), 1978.
(Editor, with David Wiley) Southern Africa: Society, Economy, and Liberation, African Studies Center, Michigan State University/Department of Afro-American and African Studies, University of Minnesota (East Lansing, MI), 1981.
(Editor and author of introduction) Luis Polanah, The Saga of a Cotton Capulana: Historia De Uma Capulana De Algodao, translated by Tamara L. Bender, University of Wisconsin-Madison (Madison, WI), 1981.
(With Barbara Isaacman) Mozambique: From Colonialism to Revolution, 1900-1982, Westview Press (Boulder, CO), 1983.
(Editor and author of introduction) Raul Honwana, The Life History of Raul Honwana: An inside View of Mozambique from Colonialism to Independence, 1905-1975, translated by Tamara L. Bender, L. Rienner Publishers (Boulder, CO), 1988.
(With Frederick Cooper, Florencia E. Mallon, Steve J. Stern, and William Roseberry) Confronting Historical Paradigms: Peasants, Labor, and the Capitalist World System in Africa and Latin America, University of Wisconsin Press (Madison, WI), 1993.
Cotton Is the Mother of Poverty: Peasants, Work, and Rural Struggle in Colonial Mozambique, 1938-1961, Heinemann (Portsmouth, NH), 1996.
(With Barbara S. Isaacman) Slavery and Beyond: The Making of Men and Chikunda Ethnic Identities in the Unstable World of South-Central Africa, 1750-1920, Heinemann (Portsmouth, NH), 2004.
(Editor, with Benigna Zimba and Edward Alpers) Slave Routes and Oral Tradition in South Eastern Africa, Filsom Entertainment (Maputo, Mozambique), 2005.
Contributor to books, including Slavery in Africa, University of Wisconsin, 1976; African Studies since 1945: A Tribute to Basil Davidson, edited by Christopher Frye, Longman, 1977; The Politics of Informal Justice, edited by Richard Abe, Academic Press, 1981; Africans in Bondage, edited by Paul Lovejoy, University of Wisconsin Press, 1986; The Ending of Slavery, edited by Suzanne Miers and Richard Roberts, University of Wisconsin Press, 1988. Contributor to journals and periodicals, including Afrique-Asie Africa Guide, Africa Report, Business International Analysis, In These Times, Los Angeles Times, Minneapolis Star and Tribune, Southern Africa, Christian Science Monitor, Issue, Studia, Journal of African History, International Journal of African Historical Studies, Africa Today, Journal of Southern African Studies, Current History, Society and Space, and Rural Africana. Coeditor of Heinemann "Social History of Africa" Series, 1988—; coeditor of African Economic History, 1984-89. On the editorial boards of Sage Series on African Modernization, 1986-88; Garvey Papers, 1985—; University of Minnesota Press, 1978-84, 1993-98; American Historical Review, 1996-99; International Journal of African Historical Studies, 1999—. Editor of Issue, Volume III, 1975, Volume VIII, 1978.
Allen F. Isaacman is a historian who specializes in African-American and African history. He has written extensively about his areas of interest, which include agrarian change, Central and Southern Africa, peasants, rural protest, slavery and maroon communities, the social history of Mozambique, the nature of African resistance to European colonial domination, East Africa, and racial problems in southern Africa.
Confronting Historical Paradigms: Peasants, Labor, and the Capitalist World System in Africa and Latin America presents essays written by Isaacman, Frederick Cooper, Florencia E. Mallon, Steve J. Stern, and William Roseberry. The essays focus on rethinking the history and paradigm that has taken place within the fields of African and Latin American history. Overall, the volume contains six essays, three of which were previously published. The authors discuss topics such as the splintering of historical knowledge, Africa and the world economy, and capitalism in Africa and Latin America. "The purpose [of this volume] is to seek an understanding of changing theoretical propositions—the paradigms which shape our approach to history," wrote a contributor to the Journal of African History.
The title of the Isaacman's essay in Confronting Historical Paradigms is "Peasants and Rural Social Protests in Africa." In his essay, the author dissects the concept of peasantry and ruminates on the difficulty of thoroughly examining the entire array of peasant life and conflict within one article. The author goes on to explore the importance of work and labor in the peasants' life and how their work gave them more autonomy than rural or urban workers. He then writes about how peasants often joined insurgency movements to either maintain or expand this autonomy, and about how their lives were significantly transformed under colonialism. "The pace of change and level of rural social conflict varied between and within territories," writes the author. "Nevertheless, throughout the colonial period the material and cultural worlds of peasants were relentlessly attacked."
Isaacman is the author, with his wife, Barbara S. Isaacman, of Slavery and Beyond: The Making of Men and Chikunda Ethnic Identities in the Unstable World of South-Central Africa, 1750-1920. In their book, the authors provide a historical examination of slavery, gender, labor, and ethnicity in East Africa, especially Mozambique. Tracing the history of Chikunda warriors back to the time of slavery in the mid-eighteenth century, along with their role in helping suppress other Africans, the authors go on to explain how the Chikunda also were able to amass wealth and power even though they were slaves. The authors also examine how freed slaves sought new ways of supporting themselves, such as the Chikunda who became elephant hunters in the last half of the nineteenth century, as well as those who became porters and frontiersmen. In addition, the authors look at the impact of early colonialism on the Chikunda from 1900 to 1930.
In their book, the Isaacmans point out that the Chikunda adhered to a military identity of masculine bravery. They avoided agricultural work and became part of the bands formed by warlords in the middle part of the nineteenth century. By the turn of the twentieth century, the Chikunda faced an identity crisis because of Portuguese colonialism, which disbanded the warlord bands and initiated forced labor. Moving to neighboring British colonies, the Chikunda left behind their warrior identity as they sought standard wage-paying jobs. "In this study, the authors have succeeded in letting the Chikunda speak for themselves as much as their sources would allow," wrote Lawrence S. Dritsas in Africa. Dritsas went on to write in the same review that the the book "offers a fascinating study of Chikunda identity that also provides the reader with a rich history of the Zambezi valley."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Isaacman, Allen F., and Frederick Cooper, Florencia E. Mallon, Steve J. Stern, and William Roseberry, Confronting Historical Paradigms: Peasants, Labor, and the Capitalist World System in Africa and Latin America, University of Wisconsin Press (Madison, WI), 1993.
Africa, spring, 2005, Lawrence S. Dritsas, review of Slavery and Beyond: The Making of Men and Chikunda Ethnic Identities in the Unstable World of South-Central Africa, 1750-1920, p. 242.
American Anthropologist, September, 1994, Joan Vincent, review of Confronting Historical Paradigms, p. 749.
American Historical Review, June, 2005, Clifton Crais, review of Slavery and Beyond, p. 912.
Choice, December, 2004, C. Higgs, review of Slavery and Beyond, p. 714.
International Journal of African Historical Studies, spring, 2005, Joseph C. Miller, review of Slavery and Beyond, p. 351.
Journal of African History, August, 1994, review of Confronting Historical Paradigms, p. 528.
University of Minnesota, Department of History Web site,http://www.hist.umn.edu/ (March 25, 2008), faculty profile of author.