By Heidi J. Nast
Drawing on her box paintings within the palace among 1988 and 2003, Nast (international experiences, DePaul U., Chicago) provides a ancient geographical account of royal concubinage within the huge palace of Kano, Nigeria, outfitted approximately 1500 and this day inhabited by way of over one thousand humans. Her research demonstrates how human geographical equipment can be utilized i
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Extra resources for Concubines and Power: Five Hundred Years in a Northern Nigerian Palace
And often, I would be shown places and things involving forays impossible to capture on tape. In these contexts, I summarized, mapped, sketched in notebooks, photographed, and/or in 2003 videotaped, where possible annotating along the way or soon after the fact, usually the same day. Upon reflection, I see that the nonlinearity of the work brought me to think through the geography of the palace in a "nodal" way, that is, to see a particular place, person, object, or body part as a node through which all sorts xxix xxx Prologue of practices, meanings, politics, and economies passed (Nast 2001).
One of the radiating roads especially important to this study is the one that leads directly to what had been the palace's northernmost retaining wall, passing through this wall, west of its centerpoint, to the northern perimeter of the secluded royal interior (see Figure 3). East of the palace wall's centerpoint, a second pathway radiated outwards to the northeast. The northeasterly pathway ran past the palace stables and merged with a city ring-road that during Rumfa's time had been an inner perimeter road to the city's defensive moats and ramparts.
First, royal concubines were often collected in great numbers from a single place, making their connections to their places of origin much stronger and of a collective nature. Secondly, palace concubines held much greater authority than did their nonroyal counterparts, making the utility of ethnic identity in the former of greater importance. What these stories suggest is that concubines never forgot where they came from; nor was a concubine or her parents necessarily prevented from maintaining contact after the former was captured.
Concubines and Power: Five Hundred Years in a Northern Nigerian Palace by Heidi J. Nast