In the Belly of Dan

  title={In the Belly of Dan},
  author={J. Cameron Monroe},
  journal={Current Anthropology},
  pages={769 - 798}
  • J. Monroe
  • Published 29 November 2011
  • History
  • Current Anthropology
The kingdom of Dahomey arose on the Slave Coast of West Africa in the tumultuous era of the slave trade. This essay explores elite architectural strategies designed to cope with political instability in this period, particularly the role of urban landscape planning and resettlement schemes in the creation of political order. Attention is directed toward the role of palace construction campaigns across the Abomey Plateau, the core zone of Dahomean political power. Drawing on multiple lines of… 

The Precolonial State in West Africa: Building Power in Dahomey

This volume incorporates historical, ethnographic, art historical, and archaeological sources to examine the relationship between the production of space and political order in the West African

Power and Agency in Precolonial African States

Precolonial African polities have emerged in recent years as fertile ground for the comparative archaeological study of social complexity and the state. For much of the twentieth century, precolonial

The Dahomean Feast: Royal Women, Private Politics, and Culinary Practices in Atlantic West Africa

Feasting is a central component of elite power strategies in complex societies worldwide. In the precolonial Kingdom of Dahomey, located in the Republic of Bénin, public feasts were a critical

Phoenix Rise: A History of the Architectural Reconstruction of the Burnt City of Kumase, 1874–1960

abstract:This work presents a history of the reconstruction of the architectural landscape and built environment of Kumase, the traditional capital of the Asante nation of the Gold Coast (now Ghana),

“Elephants for Want of Towns”: Archaeological Perspectives on West African Cities and Their Hinterlands

Sub-Saharan Africa has long been seen as lacking the potential for autochthonous urban development, and Near Eastern and European contact provided ready explanations for the emergence of precolonial

Anthropological Archaeology in 2012: Mobility, Economy, and Transformation

In 2012, archaeologists continued to grapple with large questions concerning process and structure and how they shaped the nature of humanity. The movement of populations, ideas, and material culture

Danbala/Ayida as Cosmic Prism: The Lwa as Trope for Understanding Metaphysics in Haitian Vodou and Beyond

This essay decenters notions of centrality and periphery as we aim to delineate the metaphysical elements of Haitian Vodou, a Diasporic religion in the Americas, and the manner in which its


The results of qiaoxiang archaeology indicate the significance of nonstate actors, especially import-export companies, in shaping the material worlds of both homeland and diaspora communities.

Messy Data, Ordered Questions

ABSTRACT  A lively debate was witnessed in 2011 about the role of deductive and interpretive approaches in the production of anthropological knowledge, especially as it relates to archaeology.

Inclusive Design of Earth Observation Decision Support Systems for Environmental Governance: A Case Study of Lake Nokoué

Earth Observation (EO) data can enhance understanding of human-environmental systems for the creation of climate data services, or Decision Support Systems (DSS), to improve monitoring, prediction




  • J. Monroe
  • History
    The Journal of African History
  • 2007
ABSTRACT The Kingdom of Dahomey has played a central role in our understanding of political organization in West Africa in the era of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Research has focused on two major

Power by design

This article examines the role of royal architectural design in strategies to promote political order in the Kingdom of Dahomey, a major West African state which emerged in the era of the

Landscape Politics: The Serpent Ditch and the Rainbow in West Africa

Anthropologists and archaeologists have long been interested in the intersection of social, political, and religious insti- tutions and landscape features. Recent efforts have been aimed at

Paths in the Rainforests: Toward a History of Political Tradition in Equatorial Africa

Vansina's scope is breathtaking: he reconstructs the history of the forest lands that cover all or part of southern Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, the Congo, Zaire, the Central African Republic,

State Making and the Politics of the Frontier in Central Benin

  • P. Meur
  • History, Political Science
  • 2006
Kopytoff's model of the African frontier has opened room for renewed approaches to settlement history, politics, ethnicity and cultural reproduction in pre-colonial Africa. This interpretative

Tale of two polities: Socio-political transformation on the gold coast in the Atlantic world

This article examines change and transformation in the political economy of the Akan coast and coastal hinterland of Ghana during the era of the Atlantic world. Archaeological and documentary data

History and Legitimacy: Aspects of the Use of the Past in Precolonial Dahomey

  • R. Law
  • History
    History in Africa
  • 1988
The kingdom of Dahomey (or Fon) was probably founded during the first half of the seventheenth century, but emerged clearly as a major power only in the early eighteenth century when its king Agaja

Ideology, Power and Prehistory: Burials, houses, women and men in the European Neolithic

A summary of the main approaches to the study of megaliths reveals how recent processual work that relates them to general principles fails to deal with the specificity of their variability, and

Hueda (Whydah) Country and Town: Archaeological Perspectives on the Rise and Collapse of an African Atlantic Kingdom*

Introduction On March 9, 1727, advance troops from the kingdom of Dahomey met little direct military resistance as they crossed the body of water- often glossed by European chroniclers as the River

Vijayanagara: Authority and Meaning of a South Indian Imperial Capital

The meaning of the imperial capital can be understood as a necessary component of the system that constitutes the authority of its rulers. Urban form relates rulers' behavior to principles of order