David William Cohen

David William Cohen is a professor of anthropology and history at the University of Michigan. He is the author of The Historical Tradition of Busoga: Mukama and Kintu, The Combing of History, and Womunafu's Bunafu.

Listed in: African Studies · History · African History · Anthropology

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The Risks of Knowledge · Investigations into the Death of the Hon. Minister John Robert Ouko in Kenya, 1990
By David William Cohen and E. S. Atieno Odhiambo

The Risks of Knowledge minutely examines the multiple and unfinished investigations into the murder of Kenya's distinguished Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Robert Ouko, and raises important issues about the production of knowledge and the politics of memory.

“A historical investigation of the highest caliber.”

African Studies Review




Siaya · The Historical Anthropology of an African Landscape
By David William Cohen and E. S. Atieno Odhiambo

The authors of this highly original book set out to remove the persistent boundary between the authors and readers of ethnography on one hand and the subjects of ethnography on the other – those who observe and those who are observed. The authors use stories to reveal Siaya, the Luo-speaking area of Western Kenya down near the Lake but still surprisingly vulnerable to drought.

“This is a highly innovative book…If Siaya is to be judged by the richness and complexity of its portrayal of Luo culture (as its authors intended), then it is undoubtedly a hugely enjoyable success. Everyone who reads the book will gain a great deal from the experience.”

David M. Anderson, Africa