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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Samuel B. Ngovo
Doctor of Philosophy
Title: The Bandi of Northwestern Liberia: A Study of Change and Continuity in Bandi Society to 1964
Dr. Amos J. Beyan, Chair
Dr. Bruce M. Haight
Dr. Mitch Kachun
Dr. Onaiwu W. Ogbomo
Dr. Michael Nassaney
Date: Monday, June 6, 2011 10:00 a.m. to Noon
4413 Friedmann Hall
Relying on oral accounts and archival and published sources, this dissertation employed interdisciplinary methodology to examine change and continuity in traditional Bandi systems to 1964. It focuses on traditional Bandi social, religious, economic and political systems that changed and those that persisted as a result of contacts with neighboring ethnic groups, including Islam, Christianity, and the Liberian state.
Bandi of northwestern Liberia are divided into six subgroups. Nevertheless, the six subgroups of Bandi share common traditional values. Bandi people belong to Mande-linguistic group and share common traditional values with neighboring Mande speakers such as Loma and Mende. The Bandi also have a lot in common with non-Mande speakers such as Kissi, Belle and Gola.
Islam was introduced in Bandi society in the late-nineteenth century, and Liberian state and Christianity made contacts with Bandiland in the early-twentieth centuries. Although they promoted change, Islam, Christianity and the Liberian state also enhanced cultural and social continuity in Bandi society.
Islam introduced new social values such as Ramadan, Muslim education and Arabic names in Bandi society, while Liberian state and Christianity introduced western values such as formal education, monogamous marriage, legal systems, elections and taxation. Despite these external influences, aspects of Bandi cultural and social values persisted. Overall, the study demonstrates that Islam, Christianity, Liberian state, and Bandi cultural and social systems brought about change and continuity in Bandi society during the period under study.