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Historiography On The Luapula: Ian Cunnison’s ‘Fishing Area’, Mweru-Luapula, 1948–1959

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Chapter Summary

Ian Cunnison, a member of Rhodes-Livingstone Institute (RLI) in Northern Rhodesia was sent to study a 'typical fishing area' in 1948, for which the Luapula valley was chosen. He initially lived among fishers on the southeastern corner of Lake Mweru at Mulwe and despite his assignment and proximity to lake and river fishers, his work largely discusses the strong role clans and clan histories played in the valley's socio- cultural life. He describes the Luapula valley of the late 1940s and early 1950s as a territory that played host to a multiplicity of sub-clans and ethnic groups, inter connected by kinship and political ties. His historiographical legacy reverberates throughout modern scholarship of the Luapula region. The Mweru-Luapula allotropic ecosystem and commercial fishery played a role in the cultural data collected during Cunnison's fieldwork. The period of his research coincided with several political, demographic, and ecologically significant events.

Keywords: Historiography On The Luapula; Ian Cunnison; Mweru-Luapula; Rhodes-Livingstone Institute (RLI)



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