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June 11, 2008

History Month

I have decided to dedicate this month to historical research. This means that I am spending time interviewing Nigerian pioneers in the trade in used clothing in the Republic of Bénin. I want to understand the initial motivations for the trade, the way the trade was structured then, and since many of them are still involved in the business right now, the way the business has changed over time. Yes I know, the main focus of the research is on the way the trade is organized, but we all know that the work would be the poorer if the ethnographic past is not factored in. So this week, apart from spending the time interviewing elderly persons, I will also be going into archives, reading historical documents, and consulting works of historians of the Igbo. Oh yea, while I am at it, I probably should also mention that I am consulting historical materials on the Igbo of southeastern Nigeria.

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