“...important and highly recommendable, not only for the handful of African historical demographers, but more generally for all scholars of European colonialism in Africa and population politics worldwide.”


“A very exciting collection of essays that advances and makes a contribution to the field and knowledge in general. It is original, of its genre it is state–of–the–art, and provocative.”

Ian Pool, coauthor of The New Zealand Family from 1840 and author of Te Iwi Maori: A New Zealand Population, Past, Present and Projected

“Close examinations of African reactions and interactions with these [labor and reproduction] policies allow the authors to reveal a great deal about the experience of Africans during the colonial era.”

Journal of Social History

“The collection revitalizes important debates on African demographic history, which have languished since the 1990s…. Highly recommended.”


The Demographics of Empire is a collection of essays examining the multifaceted nature of the colonial science of demography in the last two centuries. The contributing scholars of Africa and the British and French empires focus on three questions: How have historians, demographers, and other social scientists understood colonial populations? What were the demographic realities of African societies and how did they affect colonial systems of power? Finally, how did demographic theories developed in Europe shape policies and administrative structures in the colonies? The essays approach the subject as either broad analyses of major demographic questions in Africa’s history or focused case studies that demonstrate how particular historical circumstances in individual African societies contributed to differing levels of fertility, mortality, and migration. Together, the contributors to The Demographics of Empire question demographic orthodoxy, and in particular the assumption that African societies in the past exhibited a single demographic regime characterized by high fertility and high mortality.

Karl Ittmann is an associate professor of history at the University of Houston. He is the author of Work, Gender and Family in Victorian England.

Dennis D. Cordell is a professor of history and adjunct professor of anthropology at Southern Methodist University. He is the coeditor of African Population and Capitalism: Historical Perspectives.

Gregory H. Maddox is a professor of history at Texas Southern University and author of Sub-Saharan Africa: An Environmental History and coauthor of Practicing History in Central Tanzania: Writing, Memory, and Performance.

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Cover of 'The Demographics of Empire'


Paperback edition

978-0-8214-1933-5 · Retail price: $32.95 · Release date: Nov. 2010 · 302 pages · 6 × 9 in. · Rights: World

Hardcover edition

978-0-8214-1932-8 · Retail price: $64.95 · Release date: Nov. 2010 · 302 pages · 6 × 9 in. · Rights: World

Electronic edition

978-0-8214-4348-4 · Release date: Nov. 2010 · Rights: World

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Related Subjects

African Studies · Monograph · African History · History

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