Africanized Tastes and Consumer Power in Late Nineteenth and Twentieth Century West Africa


ACLS Fellowship Program




“Africanized Tastes and Consumer Power” is an ethnoarchaeological history of the impacts of local tastes and consumer practices on regional and global trade networks in West Africa over the last 200 years. The book focuses on the geopolitical area now known as Ghana, which experienced a period of extended trade following the 1807 abolition of the Atlantic trade in enslaved people, described by historians as the “legitimate” trade era. The book analyzes the significant global demand for and export of botanical commodities, such as palm oil, supplied by hinterland economies, and the socioeconomic encounters that impacted daily life in hinterland Ghana on multiple scales. “Africanized Tastes” theorizes these entanglements through such concepts as “nkudzedze,” – the local embodiments of taste among the people of Amedeka in southeastern Ghana – to chart a material history of how local consumer practices grounded in indigenous epistemologies shaped production economies in Africa, Europe, and Asia during legitimate trade. The book shifts the narratives of global entanglements from dominant global actors to local consumer power to reimagine practices and power relations during legitimate trade.